Telaina Eriksen

an erasure from Susan Baur’s the Intimate Hour: Love and Sex in Psychotherapy

it is common among inexperienced therapists
one woman threw a rock with a love letter
another came to session with no underclothes on
 
you’ve never fallen in love with a patient or
you have but you’ve decided the experience
is too dangerous to talk about so
you’re telling me condescending anecdotes
 
if I wanted a partner surely I wouldn’t choose one
who is mentally ill
flirting with professional suicide
wade into dangerous waters
 
not a sign of mental instability
to love a person with bipolar illness
these people frequently marry
and have notable careers
 
why has this patient who suffered
an episode every year or two
been free of symptoms
how to explain the five-year hiatus
 
an unwanted challenge to the healthcare system
 
a clinician must love his client
a love tender and close
the upper end of the stair case
 
at no level is this goal served
by romantic fusion which narrows
and undifferentiated the lover’s outlook
 
doctor and patient collaborate
as fellow explorers
sexual relationships
comparable to adultery
or even ordinary love