Therapy is an intense and personal experience.
It necessarily involves disclosing vulnerable facts about yourself and your life to your therapist.
One result of this can be a growing attraction for you from your therapist that can cross the line into becoming outright flirting or a sexual or romantic relationship.
Here’s how to tell if that’s what’s going on between you and your therapist.
12 warning signs your therapist is attracted to you
Hack Spirit is about making self-development easy to understand and practical.
If you’re going to therapy then your goal is to get help for problems you are having in your emotional situation and your life.
Having a therapist who’s attracted to you can be awkward and uncomfortable or in rare cases it might even be something you’re open to.
Here’s how to know if your therapist is into you and what to do if he or she is.
1) They’re focused on your dating and sex life
Sex and dating are important, and they are also key subjects in many types of therapy.
If Sigmund Freud had been 100% wrong nobody would pay attention to his theories on sexual development and stigma.
The truth is that sex does matter, and things like sexual shame, desire and sublimated longing are very much real.
But that doesn’t mean that everything is sexual.
Like Freud said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
Accordingly, there is reason to be a little bit suspicious if your therapist is always returning back to sex as a topic of discussion.
Sometimes they’re not just willing to talk about awkward or personal subjects, they’re solely focused on them because they want to get between your legs.
If it starts to seem like the sexual topics are going overboard then be aware because you could be on to something.
2) They ask flirtatious questions
Next up in the top warning signs your therapist is attracted to you is that they ask flirtatious questions.
What does it mean for something to be “flirtatious” exactly?
It basically means that they joke or ask questions which relate to your personal life in ways that make you either vaguely uncomfortable or turned on.
What’s the dividing line?
Let’s be honest here:
The dividing line is whether or not you’re attracted to your therapist.
If you are then their flirtatious comments and questions may be something you’re into and don’t mind.
If you’re not into them then it can basically ruin your therapy and make you hesitant about returning for future sessions.
Flirting is something that tends to happen now and again. It’s really not the end of the world and it can even be fun.
But if your therapist is making a concerted effort to get in your dress or pants and you’re not into it, it can be awkward to say the least.
Plus it removes the barrier of neutrality and objectivity that your therapist is supposed to have regarding your counseling.
3) Let a love coach take a look
If I told you that there was a person you could connect with online right now who would help you out in this issue, what would you say?
Well, there is!
The site I’m talking about is called Relationship Hero and it’s a place where you can get personalized and one-on-one help from an accredited professional who will help you understand what’s going on here.
They have dealt with situations like this and much more complicated.
I know because I reached out to them last year when I had a situation with my therapist where I thought she was very attracted to me.
The coach set me straight about what is going on and how to respond to the attempted seduction of my therapist.
If you’re feeling a bit lost about what’s going on or are getting confused about where the personal and professional line is being drawn in your therapy, these coaches can really help you out.
4) They hint at their own romantic situation
Does your therapist talk about his or her romantic situation?
An indication that they may be after more than just helping you out is that they talk about being single, being unsatisfied in their relationship or even talk about considering breaking up.
Therapists are people too, of course, and they have problems like all the rest of us.
But your sessions should principally be about you, not about your therapist injecting their personal issues into your time.
And if this is happening a lot then it’s not only a breach of good professional practice, it’s also an indicator that they’re probably angling for a piece of your ass.
5) They try to initiate and increase physical contact
One of the other warning signs your therapist is attracted to you is that they try to push the physical boundary.
They touch you, caress you, let their hand linger on yours and even go in for a hug that lasts just a little too long.
And they know it.
Like I said, therapists are people too. That means they have physical and emotional desires.
Just because you’re their patient and they shouldn’t be crossing any lines with you doesn’t mean they won’t.
After all, look how humanity started according to the Bible:
The forbidden fruit must have tasted pretty damn good.
Or at least it must have looked pretty amazing to have tempted Eve to that extent.
If that apple was so ravishingly sexy, then just extend the metaphor outwards.
Just because you’re his or her patient doesn’t mean you’re not sexy, captivating and fabulous.
And it doesn’t mean your therapist isn’t going to put the moves on you.
6) They dress up just for you
How is your therapist’s style game?
Do you notice that they seem to be looking absolutely great every time you see them?
Now maybe they just have a very advanced sense of style and personal hygiene.
But more likely they are trying to be at their absolute best every time you come around.
If you can see a pattern of your therapist looking like they just spent an hour getting themselves dolled up, let me tell you:
They probably did.
And they probably want to take you on a moonlit cruise in Venice and disrobe you and ravish you.
If that’s not something you find very appealing you should be aware that they seem to be very into you in any case.
7) They try to undermine your past relationships
How does your therapist behave about your current or past relationships?
These are probably going to be a topic of discussion in your sessions, which is natural.
However if they try to undermine your relationships it can be a sign that they want you for themselves.
This is especially the case if you have an ex you are still in love with and want to get back together with.
However, your therapist puts water on the fire saying that it would never happen or will “damage” you and so on.
I won’t lie:
Getting an ex back is far from a sure thing.
But if it wasn’t possible nobody would bother trying. It’s definitely possible.
But it has to be done in the right way.
You can’t “talk your ex” back into being with you or force him or her to fall back in love with you.
Instead, you have to actually change how your ex feels about you through an indirect way that still leaves the ultimate choice up to him or her.
It’s something that relationship psychologist James Bauer explains in this excellent short video.
This includes specific texts you can send and a roadmap for winning back your ex’s heart.
If you have a therapist who’s into you and wants to talk down to you about your love life, don’t let them. Get your ex back instead.
8) They play off your fears of being alone
Being alone can be difficult. Even though it has many rewards and the more introverted of us might be into it, the thought of being alone for a long period or having no option except to be alone can be daunting.
One of the warning signs your therapist is attracted to you is that they play off this fear.
If you’re single, they talk about the potential psychological dangers of being single for two long, or the detrimental health effects of being single.
At the same time, they admit that online dating is quite hit and miss and that modern dating is a real headache.
What options are left? You’re looking at them: your therapist.
You see the game your therapist has played here. He or she has demonized being single, admitted that many of the solutions to it don’t work and then left only themselves or people like them as the potential solution.
After all, they understand you, right? Why shouldn’t they also be the one undressing you one day in the future?
(I can think of a number of reasons why not, starting with ethical and legal considerations).
9) They initiate phone or text contact outside of work
Having your therapist’s number is normal, obviously. But it’s usually their office number or at least their work-dedicated line.
In some cases they may give you their personal number or use only one number in any case as a sole practitioner.
In my opinion that’s still fine and perfectly professional.
However, where it crosses the line is if they try to get a lot closer via text or calling in ways that are not directly related to your therapist-client relationship.
Examples would include sending flirtatious texts, photos that are of a more personal nature, inquiring inappropriately into your personal business or sending you sexual or suggestive memes and jokes.
This could often start out more innocently with a couple of jokes that seem harmless but lead down a sexual path…
Or it could involve sharing a few photos of what you’re up to and having that escalate into a more flirtatious exchange later on or some days later…
10) They frequently compliment your appearance and style
Are you looking good? Hopefully.
Either way, if your therapist is into you beyond the professional level, you’ll note that they often comment on your hot appearance or style.
As a master of words they aren’t likely to be too classless about it and will make it sound tasteful and respectful, at least the first few times.
But as their appreciation of your appearance becomes more and more obvious you’ll get the strong vibe that this therapist wants to butter your bread, so to speak.
And you might not be wrong.
They may even say somethings like:
“Well, you certainly must get a lot of male attention looking like that, I must say. Wow! Let’s talk about how you feel in a sexual sense of being an object of desire for men.”
“You’re just such a handsome and… well-built young man, I can see how women might be distracted by you or treat you as more of an object of…desire. I know it makes you feel undervalued, but I think that we also need to explore how your sexuality is part of a cycle of empowerment for you.”
“Well-built,” “explore,” :desire,” “distracted?” I think you’re getting the picture here.
If the therapist was playing a game of Scrabble the board would practically be rated X by now.
Additional signs to look out for:
- Your therapist making intense and sensual eye contact with you as much as possible, including subtle winks
- Your therapist licking his or her lips or biting them as they eye you up
- Your therapist staring at your cleavage, behind, chest, lips or figure in a lustful or obviously desirous way
- Your therapist letting their touch linger when touching you in any way such as a hug, handshake, back pat or reassuring gesture of some kind
11) They suggest that you meet up outside of a therapeutic context
If you already are in fairly steady contact with your therapist, another aspect to watch out for is meeting outside of a work context.
It could start as a drink just to get together, particularly if you have had loneliness or social issues as part of what you’re doing therapy for.
This in itself already crosses the ethical doctor-patient barrier, but it’s something that certain less orthodox therapists might decide to do, at least in the context of a group get together or event.
However if it goes beyond this and basically becomes a situation of you meeting your therapist or being invited out in some kind of dry run for dating, you can be sure they’re into you as more than just a patient.
12) They strongly resist you changing therapists
If you talk about potentially switching therapists or ending your therapy, how does your therapist react?
If they are a professional who has only your mental and emotional wellbeing in mind then they will question you about why you are making this decision and the progress you have made in their view, along with what remains to be worked on.
They will focus on what’s best for you, not for them.
If they are interested in you in a romantic or sexual way, however, they are likely to become quite vexed about your decision to stop therapy or change therapists.
They may even, unfortunately, take it somewhat personally in the way that a person might behave when facing romantic rejection or humiliation.
“Why are you leaving me?” “I just don’t know why you’d do this to me at this point,” with a hint of hurt in his or her voice is not really the kind of drama most of us would hope to have when changing therapists.
It’s the kind of question you might expect when breaking up with a romantic partner you’ve been dating, not when parting ways with a professional who you’ve been interacting with as part of their job.
If they’re taking it very personally and try hard to convince you to stay, you can make a safe bet this armchair analyst is interested in more than just your beautiful mind.
Closing the door on controversy
The therapist-client relationship is sacred, similar to the attorney-client relationship or doctor-patient link.
A romantic or sexual relationship interrupts the intended neutrality of the process and is also potentially unwelcome and upsetting.
However if you find that many of the signs above are true and you are quite sure your therapist is into you, you must consider whether you feel the same and are interested in becoming involved with them, too.
If so, it is best to sever the professional relationship as soon as possible and finding yourself another therapist, in order to make the beginning of an intimate relationship with your current therapist appropriate and fully ethical.
If you’re not quite sure where you stand or what you feel, I once again recommend getting in touch with the love coaches at Relationship Hero.
They can help you unravel what’s going on and differentiate therapy from romance and the potential for real relationships from temporary attraction.