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Psychotherapists sometimes have fantasies of finding just the right match for clients — particularly clients they like, I suspect.  An article in the New York Times does a pretty good job of sharing one therapist’s thoughts on the subject.

Dating is challenging, and there’s the temptation to find a short-cut that would lead to a successful relationship for the two people involved.  The issue also highlights one of the subtler aspects of psychotherapy:  therapists develop feelings for their clients, just as clients often do for therapists.  This is normal and healthy, but it is the responsibility of the therapist to make sure it serves the process and doesn’t get in the way.  That’s one reason psychotherapy is different from friendship.

The therapist who wrote the article put it this way:

I shouldn’t find partners for my patient any more than I should cook her dinner: both are skills she has to develop for herself….Additionally (and why was I thinking this through so fully?) she might feel coerced into something she really didn’t want to do. A therapeutic relationship is by definition unequal; therapists have considerable power, and patients want to please their therapists. My patient might be reluctant to decline.

Therapists are human.  I’ve sometimes had fantasies that two clients I thought would be perfect for one another might somehow bump into one another on the sidewalk outside my office!  But I understand it isn’t my place to manipulate people into making that happen.

Sometimes help isn’t helpful.