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by Abigail Van Buren

Therapist Who Got Too Close To Patient Backing Away

DEAR ABBY: I was seeing a therapist for several years. I began going because of abandonment and trust issues. Over time we became friends outside of therapy, talking to each other several times a week. I trusted her completely. During our therapy sessions she shared her life and problems with me to the point that I feel I know as much about her as she knows about me.

A couple of months ago, she suddenly decided that ethics had been breached and she was setting new boundaries. She said there would be no contact outside our sessions, but during the sessions she would say how much she missed me and thought of me as a daughter, and she would cry.

Now she has decided that she can no longer be my therapist. She has blocked my number and expects me to respect her demands. I know you can't speak for her, but is this normal behavior for a mental health therapist? I no longer trust therapists. -- CONFUSED IN TEXAS

DEAR CONFUSED: No, it is not normal behavior; it is highly inappropriate. Your therapist appears to have had as many or more unresolved emotional issues than you did. By ending your sessions together, she has done you an enormous favor.

While you may not trust "therapists," it may require the efforts of another one to help you work through this. When you go for your initial interview, be sure to tell the therapist what was done to you.

Read more in: Mental Health | Friends & Neighbors