So in graduate school, budding therapists are taught that transparency is a bad thing. We are taught that our clients should know as little about us as possible and we should be a “blank slate”. There are a few reasons for this…
- This is YOUR time and YOU are the focus.
- Remaining more of a “mystery” allows the power differential to happen, meaning I tell you the same stuff your friends tell you, but often you listen to me. If you knew what I had for dinner last night, that would shift.
- Knowing personal things about your therapist may change how you view them and therefor your desire/ability to work with them.
Now, while I agree with all of these reasons, I do think that there is a time and place where disclosure is totally helpful. And maybe even necessary. I believe that if I’m telling a personal story to connect with my client and to illustrate to him/her that I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there, that it can be helpful. VERY helpful actually. And this is why in substance use work, the clinicians are encouraged to talk about their journeys with recovery. It provides a level of credibility that otherwise might not be there.
It is safe to say that everyone, even therapists, goes through their own struggles and challenges. And I believe that everyone’s “stuff” is just right for them and someone else would not be able to “walk a mile in your shoes.” I’m not a fan of putting challenges into some sort of hierarchal structure. Because everyone is right where they need to be at every given moment in time. And everyone’s shoes are perfect for them.
So as we move forward with the continued weirdness that is Covid in 2021, be prepared for a bit more transparency from me than you might be used to. And please, please please feel free to ask me (either via email or text) any questions you might have.