All the people we see, whether therapists, psychiatrists, cpns, care coordinators, we see in a professional situation - for them. They see many people, as part of their job. Even if they like you, they cannot become a friend or form any kind of attachment because it compromises their professional role. Also the emotional impact on them would be too much, trying to help so many people who they also saw as friends.
For us it is different, if we see someone for a long time and they are kind and supportive it is hard to not think of them as friends. We may not have anyone else in our lives who treats us kindly, or who spends time regularly to focus on us and our problems, so sometimes we do see them as friends. If that happens to me I remind myself regularly that however much I may like someone, they are not my friend.
I think as human beings you cannot help but bond on some level with someone you see regularly and build up a rapport with. They must find this sometimes too - but have to maintain the professional relationship.
I've had lots of therapists and even when I'm lucky enough to like them, I never wish to be their friend. I think one could get horribly disappointed if they ended up in a relationship with their therapist. Best not to idealise. We might think we know them but we really don't
My first therapist was really great. He and I spent a lot of time dealing with stuff, quite often it would turn into just "chatting" and I began to see him as a friend. I didn't realise that I'd formed that kind of attachment to him, although I should have seen it coming as I was so isolated and he was really my only contact with the outside world.
He retired, and I never saw him again, I asked to contact him through the office and the said they couldn't help (for obvious reasons).
Even though I completely understand what happened, I've never got over the loss of, what felt to me to be, a very real friendship.
And as I write this, I've realised that thinking back still makes me very, very sad and regretful.
It really messes up a therapeutic relationship if you're friends with a therapist. There are very good reasons why the relationship has to remain professional and you don't get to know things about their personal life. Imagine if you found out they had a stressful home life, or were dealing with a difficult situation, or had an awful childhood......would you feel able to sit there and talk about your stuff with them?
Much as I'm curious about my therapist and what she's like in 'real life', I actually don't want to know. I need to keep her - and that relationship - 'apart' from life. I need her to be someone I don't know, who I can say whatever to, in complete ignorance of whether it hits home with her or is the same as something she might have experienced.
When he says 'professional friends' that's exactly what he means. Within in the context of the professional, therapeutic relationship, you're friends, but it can't happen out in the real world. It helps a lot if you do get on with your therapist, but the 'friendship' has to stay within therapy. So when therapy ends, that 'friendship' ends.
I had a therapist a while ago who I got on well with, and we both said during the last session that in a parallel universe we would probably be friends, but we both know that that couldn't happen, and that was ok.
Personally I think I could be friends with a mental health worker and have it not compromise anything. And if I was a mental health worker, I would find a way so that it doesn't compromise anything. If there's a will, there's a way.