Professional boundaries - Self-disclosure

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Postby Blueyedancer » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:59 am

If you have attended therapy, how much did your therapist self-disclose (for example, about their feelings, family, friends, life experiences related to your issues, personal info unrelated to therapy, etc)?

If you are in the field, how much do you self-disclose?
Blueyedancer
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Postby Nigel H » Tue Nov 15, 2005 5:29 pm

To me it would depend on the circumstance and generally I would not self-disclose, since the person is there with me to sort out THEIR problem, rather that hear about any of mine. I may use things I have been through to help re-frame circumstances that they are raising - since all menaing is context dependent, if I can add a different meaning to something by a different context as I may have experienced something, I may do.........

Generally not though - why do you ask?

Nig
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Postby Ph » Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:53 pm

<<If you have attended therapy, how much did your therapist self-disclose (for example, about their feelings, family, friends, life experiences related to your issues, personal info unrelated to therapy, etc)?

If you are in the field, how much do you self-disclose?>>

I believe it is important to give clients the experience of a relationship that is for their sake (unlike a social relationship which is more mutually based). How I organise myself in the relationship will vary from client to client and how much I self-disclose will vary from client to client. For example a client neglected by a distracted depressed parent may respond better with a therapist with a spontaneous, interested, talkative way of being. On the other hand, a client with intrusive, demanding parents and older siblings might find a quieter, non-intrusive presence to be just what she needs. I respect the individuality of the client and aim to attune to it whilst staying centred in myself. Some clients may find it very difficult to disclose anything about themselves if they know nothing about the person in front of them and in that case I would risk self-disclosure if it was for the client's sake and not for mine. And if a client asks me at the end of a session where I'm going for my holidays, it would be churlish not to tell them. Even though I am always embarrassed when I say "Eastbourne". What I wouldn't do is tell them I'm embarrassed about my choice of holiday destination. That much information would probably be intrusive.

I'm interested to know about why you are concerned about this <-- that's typical self-disclosure!

Philippa
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Postby Ph » Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:53 pm

<<If you have attended therapy, how much did your therapist self-disclose (for example, about their feelings, family, friends, life experiences related to your issues, personal info unrelated to therapy, etc)?

If you are in the field, how much do you self-disclose?>>

I believe it is important to give clients the experience of a relationship that is for their sake (unlike a social relationship which is more mutually based). How I organise myself in the relationship will vary from client to client and how much I self-disclose will vary from client to client. For example a client neglected by a distracted depressed parent may respond better with a therapist with a spontaneous, interested, talkative way of being. On the other hand, a client with intrusive, demanding parents and older siblings might find a quieter, non-intrusive presence to be just what she needs. I respect the individuality of the client and aim to attune to it whilst staying centred in myself. Some clients may find it very difficult to disclose anything about themselves if they know nothing about the person in front of them and in that case I would risk self-disclosure if it was for the client's sake and not for mine. And if a client asks me at the end of a session where I'm going for my holidays, it would be churlish not to tell them. Even though I am always embarrassed when I say "Eastbourne". What I wouldn't do is tell them I'm embarrassed about my choice of holiday destination. That much information would probably be intrusive.

I'm interested to know about why you are concerned about this <-- that's typical self-disclosure!

Philippa
Ph
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Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:11 pm
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Postby Ph » Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:54 pm

<<If you have attended therapy, how much did your therapist self-disclose (for example, about their feelings, family, friends, life experiences related to your issues, personal info unrelated to therapy, etc)?

If you are in the field, how much do you self-disclose?>>

I believe it is important to give clients the experience of a relationship that is for their sake (unlike a social relationship which is more mutually based). How I organise myself in the relationship will vary from client to client and how much I self-disclose will vary from client to client. For example a client neglected by a distracted depressed parent may respond better with a therapist with a spontaneous, interested, talkative way of being. On the other hand, a client with intrusive, demanding parents and older siblings might find a quieter, non-intrusive presence to be just what she needs. I respect the individuality of the client and aim to attune to it whilst staying centred in myself. Some clients may find it very difficult to disclose anything about themselves if they know nothing about the person in front of them and in that case I would risk self-disclosure if it was for the client's sake and not for mine. And if a client asks me at the end of a session where I'm going for my holidays, it would be churlish not to tell them. Even though I am always embarrassed when I say "Eastbourne". What I wouldn't do is tell them I'm embarrassed about my choice of holiday destination. That much information would probably be intrusive.

I'm interested to know about why you are concerned about this <-- that's typical self-disclosure!

Philippa
Ph
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:11 pm
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Postby Blueyedancer » Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:08 am

Thanks for the responses. In response to the question you both asked regarding why I wanted to know, I was just trying to get a feel for how much most therapists disclose. I saw a counselor years ago and I didn't know much about her. Then I saw another one who was more open about herself. Personally, I preferred the the second approach in therapy because I liked knowing that I was talking to a real person. But as a professional (not therapist, however), I know that I rarely self-disclose. Like both of you, I only disclose if it's relevant and helpful to the client.
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