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cynthia200 Offline
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Over-dependent on counsellor? - April 5th 2014, 06:55 PM

Hi! I'm new to this so not sure how it works. But, I have a problem.

I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and I am told I live in a house of emotional and psychological abuse, which I do believe but nothing has ever been done about it.
I'm currently seeing my school chaplain who is also a trained counsellor and I have been seeing her since January. She is one of the most wonderful, kind and giving women I have ever met. She takes such huge interest in her students and treats us our age unlike other teachers!!

She knows more about me then anybody else, and I talk to her about everything. She has become a real source of support. She used to act like a friend more then a teacher, but she still remained professional. But now it's like she has reigned back on being as friendly as she used to be, and is way more professional. I don't like it, and wish she was how she was before. I used to go to her office everyday and speak with her, even for only a few minutes. The days I wouldn't speak to her I would feel down and look forward to the next time we spoke. We recently clashed heads over an issue and I lost my temper a little, and as a result she got more stern with me, but later said it was just to get me to listen to what she was trying to say and not because she was angry with me. Ever since, she has stopped acting as friendly and has become more professional. She used to speak to me more like a friend then anything else, but still remained completely professional. I suppose I confided in her like you would to a friend. Now, I only see her twice a week for a shorter session. I suggested this to her because I knew popping in everyday was unhealthy. I'm allowed change days and times whenever I wish. I hate it but I know its for the best. I have her for class and various extra activities too so I spend a lot of time with her anyway, and I have found that I would speak to her in the morning about my inner-most thoughts for example, then that afternoon have her for class and I find that difficult sometimes.

On weekends and holidays, I always miss her. And I'm really dreading Easter and Summer. I will miss her company but also I hate the thoughts of being at home all on my own for Summer without her to talk to about my home issues.
Embarrassing as it may sound, I even get a little jealous when she praises or appears to be laughing or having a good time with other students. She has also become a lot more critical during our sessions. I want her to be honest with me, but she has become a lot more critical and it's not that I'm upset because of her comments because I know myself they are things I do need to change but because she used to be so much nicer. What changed?

I'm really dreading Summer without anyone to talk too and I know I shouldn't feel this dependent on her but I can't help it. This might not make any sense, but what should I do?

Cynthia x
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Re: Over-dependent on counsellor? - April 5th 2014, 10:39 PM

Hello, Cynthia! Welcome to TeenHelp. =)

Have you addressed these concerns with your counselor? A few things could be going on here.

First, your counselor may be struggling with something called "countertransference." This is something all people who serve as counselors, therapists, etc. experience. It's essentially the emotional response a professional has toward their clients, based on their own personal experiences. Initially, your counselor may have been warmer toward you because she wanted to connect with you; however, as time went on, she may have discovered that it was becoming harder to maintain the professional boundary with you (e.g., she may have begun to feel more like a mother or friend to you than a counselor). As a result, she could have adjusted her approach, and without meaning to, she could have come across as less friendly.

Second, your counselor may recognize that you're becoming more and more dependent on her for emotional support. That's a common response with clients, but it's not a healthy one in the long-term, as clients need to learn how to manage their feelings/emotions on their own. The counselor can provide guidance, but ultimately, they just contain your feelings/emotions - they can manage them for you.

Finally, there could be something else going on, which is interfering with the therapeutic relationship. For example, my wedding date is quickly approaching. As a result, it's difficult for me to stay present during sessions, and I've found I'm not as patient with people as I usually am. If your counselor is dealing with external stressors, then that could affect the ways she treats you.

So how do you resolve this issue? Talk to your counselor about how you're feeling! Without making accusations, tell your counselor how these changes have been affecting you. For example, instead of saying, "You're not friendly anymore," you could say, "I feel unwanted when I see you talking and laughing with other students, and I'm reminded that we haven't talked or laughed like that in a while. I wonder what has changed and why I feel this way."

Good luck, and feel free to keep us updated on your situation!

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Re: Over-dependent on counsellor? - April 5th 2014, 11:18 PM

No I haven't said this to her, although I have a feeling she suspects something. She was quite sick recently and was out for two weeks, and she told me that she is really looking forward to going on vacation soon, I sort of got the vibe that she just cant wait for a break from work. Thanks for the help, makes a bit more sense now!
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