We have been very concerned with acting out the sexual transference because of the mental damage that it most often does to the patient. Due to this important concern, we have been less focused on the fact that severe, long-term, emotional pain can be sustained by a patient when the sexual transference is not handled frankly by the therapist and is seen as nothing but an infantile pathology. This pain may be unnecessary because the sexual transference can include the seeds of healthy, mature love of an existential or spiritual nature. Worse, if the situation is not corrected and the patient does not receive some validation of their feelings by another therapist, the cruelty can bring the patient to feel that it is unsafe to express feelings that have no outlet in society, thus stunting further growth.
There is a great difference in acknowledging feelings as valid versus acting them out. I believe many therapists are afraid to validate the sexual or love feelings of their patients due to the perception that they may be inviting illicit acts. To me it is simple to make a clear delineation and then deal with the existential angst, which is not at all easy, but is better than not making the delineation and leaving the patient feeling betrayed on a soul level. In such a case, there is nobody to complain to because the therapist erred on the side of safety, which can hardly be faulted among one's peers.
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