Is Your Partner Crossing Boundaries With a Therapist or Life Coach? It Was Meant to Help, But...

Is Your Partner Crossing Boundaries With a Therapist or Life Coach? It Was Meant to Help, But...

On Vanderpump Rules, Jax Taylor seeks advice from his reiki master Kelsey when things get hard...

By Marianne Garvey
Jax Tells His Reiki Therapist to Call Him Jason

Jax Taylor has been seeking answers from a reiki master this season on Vanderpump Rules, and what started as a healing technique to channel good energy has turned into a full-on dependence on his reiki therapist Kelsey.

She calls him Jason, advises him on big life decisions, and calms him in the middle of mental breakdowns — all while he’s trying to break up with his sweet girlfriend Brittany Cartwright because he's having anger issues. Major. Life. Crisis.

Pump fans have been tweeting at Brittany about the close bond between Jax (Jason) and Kelsey, and she even addressed the “other woman” issue on a recent episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen

"That really irritated me. I wanted him to go to the reiki. I wanted him to get better and get the help he needed," Brittany said. "But don't try to act like she is the light of your life when I have been trying to help him and do the same exact things that he said she was doing the entire time."

Still, she shot down speculation the two had crossed a line, and said she doesn’t think it’s as bad as fans are making stout to be. Maybe if it wasn’t Jax we were talking about here.

Reiki master, therapist, trainer, life coach, they are all amazing steps towards self-improvement. But what about when your partner becomes too close to the person who is supposed to be guiding them in a particular area and you think an unhealthy line has been crossed? What if your significant other is telling this person more than you’re comfortable with? Or spending all their free time with them? Are they treating this person like a guru? Like they can’t live without them?

It’s unfortunately a common problem for patients, they get too close to therapists, which also covers the umbrella of self-help: a reiki therapist, yogi, physical trainer, counselor, and anyone who is hearing your spouse's problems. There are often boundaries that are crossed when only one of you is self-improving.

According to Psych Central, that’s often because your therapist may very well be saying the nice things you need mentioned to “bolster your self-esteem and let you know that he or she cares about you.” Same with your trainer or yogi or whoever you are paying to help you be a better you. This is filling an emotional hole that your partner isn’t, and slowly you can become dependent on the positive feelings you get from your talks or workouts and attach those to deeper feelings. 

But there are strict boundaries. When you cross them, you know. 

“If he makes no other overt gestures, never offers to meet with you outside of the sessions, and doesn’t get overly personal, his/her comments are appropriate within the therapeutic relationship,” Psych Central reports. “If, however, he/she gets too personal, offers to meet outside of therapy or makes any sexual advances, then they have crossed the line.”

It’s very common to feel some attachment to your therapist or counselor, they add. “You are opening up to this person in an intimate way. Many folks tell their therapists more than they tell people in their personal lives. It can feel like friendship and the relationship is built on trust.”

You have to remember, that as a client of this (paid) person, this is happening in the context of a professional relationship and they are providing a service, not a substitute for your relationship.

What you can do:

If it is a therapist or counselor, the best thing to do is to bring these issues up in a session — and with your partner after you have sorted it out with your therapist. 

Well Doing says that because the relationship you have with your therapist is intimate, you are spilling the deepest parts of yourself to them and therefore become very vulnerable.

“You show them parts of your psyche that even you have trouble tolerating, yet they accept all this non judgmentally,” they report. “A therapist in this and other processes can become an idealized figure for their clients…they have a lot of power over you, power that…might be benign or abused.”

In nearly all professions where a professional is assisting a client with their health and well-being, the code of ethics states they must not ever take advantage of a client.

“When a therapist is working ethically, erotic feelings that occur in the relationship should be talked about and analyzed, but never acted upon,” Well Doing reports. “Acting upon such impulses teaches the client nothing about his or her psyche or typical patterns of behavior. When the client’s vulnerability is abused, any trauma or hurt they have been through is more likely to be compounded than alleviated.”

Taking this into consideration, let’s get back to Jax. It’s easy to point fingers (because he’s cheated in the past) and say he’s grown too close to Kelsey - and too distant from Brittany. But, if someone has become your life coach or guide, there is an unequal balance of power in the therapeutic relationship and that's sometimes hard to see when you are in it. 

“In order to heal, it is sometimes necessary to fall apart somewhat and if you do, it is the therapist who is holding the pieces for you and who helps you re-form again,” Well Doing says. “This puts the client in a dependent position that is difficult to understand unless you’ve experienced it.”

And if this is happening to you, where your partner is idealizing a therapist or some sort of life coach, and you feel threatened, couples therapy is a huge help.

Treating both people at once will help all parties to see the whole picture, rather than advising one side, and their partner building resentment against the therapist. This is likely why Jax brought up breaking up, instead of trying to get Brittany into reiki therapy with him. They are on entirely separate pages if he is the only one doing the talking with Kelsey.

What a couples therapist or life coach can do is co-design a treatment plan for both people instead of each seeking treatment—and a solution— on their own, which can lead to where Jax and Brittany were Monday night. On the verge of a breakup. 

Check out more from the SURvers on Jax's relationship with Kelsey, below.

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