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I had a therapist in California whom I loved.
I could tell she was fond of me too. When she described our relationship, she referred to it as a “special heart connection.”
In our last session, I gave her rose quartz, and we held onto it together, clasping hands. Some part of me truly wanted her to be my mom. I saw her the way Matilda looked at Ms. Honey. She was beautiful, loving, and always present.
Despite what happened, I still smile when I think of her and all she taught me.
My relationship with her was different than any relationship I had experienced with a therapist. For one, she allowed me to write to her whenever I needed or wanted to. We engaged in emails back and forth frequently, exchanging messages about my struggles, travel, and books I had read.
She pushed me gently down a road I hadn’t know about—one of stillness, psychedelics, and spiritual awakening. This path was far from the one I had walked as a child and young adult. She once said that my ego was “always in the driver’s seat,” and she was right. At the time though, I didn’t understand what an ego was or how to find the love I was searching for inside me.
I looked forward to seeing my therapist and thought about her often. I’d sometimes buy her things and send her pictures of new experiences. She loved traveling as much as I did and seemed to thoroughly enjoy reading what I would write. I had never written much until she encouraged me to do so.
Since I am no longer allowed to write to her, I write to the world instead.
After some time had passed of working with me and taking on more clients, she realized that maybe it wasn’t appropriate to allow me to write to her so much. During one of her sessions, she stated that she would no longer read my emails and mentioned that “sometimes therapists make mistakes.”
I was the only client she had ever been allowed to engage with her in the way I did, and will likely be the only client she ever makes this mistake with. Our relationship changed overnight. It was confusing and gut-wrenchingly painful.
I no longer see my therapist, and she has requested no more contact. Some see me crying in my office at work, or alone in a café, and ask if I’m okay. They assume I’ve been dumped or someone died when I say I’m just missing someone whom I lost. The truth is that the tears I cry each morning when I first wake up are not for a partner or a blood relative, but for a woman I never knew much about.
The word “saudade” in Brazilian Portuguese has no translation, but it means something similar to the pain one feels when they lose something they loved and would do anything to have it back. I have saudade for this woman and our relationship; each morning, I wake up, and each night, I try to close my eyes.
While I know she carries me in her heart and I carry her in mine, I can’t help but feel sad each Sunday, knowing on Monday I won’t be sitting in front of her.
To all therapists out there, please make boundaries clear from day one for all your clients, so they don’t experience this pain. We aren’t your friend or child. We are a client. We will walk right up to you and want to befriend you if you let us. Try your best not to have my experience be the experience of your clients. Show them love and compassion, but make sure they know that you are not their friend.