Even though years have passed, any extra-therapeutic relationship—no matter how tempting—is taboo. It presupposes that the transference / counter-transference will be negative or harmful.Many of the other therapeutic streams of psychology ( Humanist for one) see this as a positive and natural progression. If both parties discuss the boundaries and expectations from the onset and that if things don;t work out, they will both accept it and go their own way.This is no different than sex with a child in many respects.
And the statute of limitation hardly applies here either. I know as much about his challenges as he does mine.
I agree that establishment of boundaries is crucial in order to prevent harm to 99% of a doctor's clientele. In fact, I solve my own issues and provides feedback. Of course some say I know far too much, but that's the way it evolved,despite our efforts to curb the fraternizing.
She was quite attractive, bright, articulate, and wanted to understand her need to date older men.
The psychotherapy continued once-weekly for about seven months. Okay, I’ll admit she was attractive and there can always be an undercurrent of sexual allure in a relationship.
That Eva wanted to see me socially was, by itself, evidence she still had unresolved problems. But there was something else, something equally important: transference had developed while she was in treatment. By its very nature, transference guarantees a power disparity in any relationship—even if therapy ended long ago.
Despite the passage of time, the therapist is not perceived realistically by the former patient.
When we parted company, she knew the door to my office was open should she want to look deeper into her conflicts. Isn’t there a…I don’t know…isn’t there a statute of limitations? “I’m afraid there isn’t.” I was aware some therapists believe there can be a “waiting period” or “statute of limitations” (to use Eva’s term) once therapy is over.
After that time period passes, they feel it’s acceptable for a social or sexual relationship to develop.
She quickly developed insight into the dynamics of her choices in men, and began making better decisions in her dating life. Let me look at my appointment book…” “No, I mean socially. But I’d been her therapist, and to get involved in any fashion would have been a boundary violation. “But you’re not my doctor anymore.” “That’s not the point.
When it seemed Eva’s goals were reasonably met, the therapy came to an end. I was your therapist and because of that, I can’t have a social relationship with you…” “But the therapy is over and I’ve moved on.
The best way of explaining this is an alcoholic having a bottle of vodka as a therapist.