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disclose of abuse by therapist
January 16, 2007
8:30 pm
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moonmade
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hi,
i was wondering what people feel if a therapist, in an effort to connect with a client, reveals (without details) that s/he had been abused as a child and understands some of what a client is dealing with.
your thoughts?

January 16, 2007
8:39 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Some self-disclosure is alright for the purposes of establishing rapport.

I would feel uncomfortable with a therapist who gives too much personal info.

January 16, 2007
8:55 pm
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moonmade
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i agree. it's difficult to know where to draw lines sometimes but i feel that for some clients who give off a lot of "red flags" that letting them know that you have been through a difficult childhood with an abusive parent may be helpful. (no details.)

i feel that sometimes it's the quickest way for a client to feel confortable. what i have seen is that people who haven't been abused will say "I'm sorry" or "really?" but not indicate much interest. Others will want to ask questions or you'll just see that look of recognition and they start opening up more.
thanks for the input. anyone else?

January 16, 2007
10:12 pm
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scyllamessina
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I think it is fine as long as the therapist isn't looking for you to help him/her!

January 16, 2007
10:59 pm
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moonmade
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whoa,
that's a scary thought. hopefully, by the time a person is a therapist, h/she knows who to talk to about their own issues.

January 16, 2007
11:12 pm
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Matteo
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There is always a power diffeence between the therapist and the client and in my opinion self-disclosure is the most valuable tool to significantly diminish it. However, as was said before the therapist shouldn't be the one who seems to need help, so disclosing to the client something what client didn't disclose (yet)to the therapist, or something more difficult and intense than the client's issue is out of the question.

For example if the client says: my husband cheated and I cannot believe that he could do it to me, we had such a great relationship, and the therapist says that ahe/he can relate because was also betrayed by a spouse who appeared to be someone different than was in reality - that's great. But, if the client says that the parents were cold and unavailable and the therapist says that his/her parents were also cold and neglectful of the fact that she/he was sexually abused by an uncle - wow! I don't think so! It has to be always about the client and the client's needs, not about the therapist. Self-disclosure is about diminishing power difference in therapy, and establishing good working rapport which would benefit the client, not about bonding with the client and seeking recognition from the client who might have similar experience as the therapist does.

January 17, 2007
11:28 am
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caraway
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moonmade,

I think that it is probably the norm. Aren't most of them still trying to heal themselves anyway?

Cary

January 17, 2007
3:40 pm
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StronginHim77
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My psychologist shared some of his past with me and it helped me feel more comfortable around him. He really could relate to what I was feeling because he had lived through it, himself. So, I guess it depends upon how much is revealed and in what context, etc. As long as you feel comfortable, it's probably fine. If you have "alarm bells" going off in your heart, then there might be a problem.

- Ma Strong

January 17, 2007
4:25 pm
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revelation
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Hi, I'm a trainee therapist. There is no rules or regulations about it (at least not where I live) But, its not something a therapist would do lightly...only perhaps as the other posters said...if they felt that the client needed to hear it. But my advice would be, if you feel in any way uncomfortable about what a therapist says or with how your session is going...say it! Don't be afraid...you are the client afterall, you are the one who's paying money...you are the important one...not the therapist.

Rev.

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