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-   -   how much concern should a client show for a therapist? (http://www.behavior.net/bolforums/showthread.php?t=708)

littlethree January 28th, 2006 02:53 AM

how much concern should a client show for a therapist?
 
Hello. I recently found out that my therapist was divorced this past summer (2005). I have been a client of hers for about 2 years now.

She did not tell me this news. (Not that I expect her to or that she needs to tell me that or that is it appropriate to tell me that.) I just was looking up information online about her services and found a post of "MARRIAGE DISSOLUTIONS GRANTED" which is published by our local newspaper. It was under the online header of the "(local newspaper name):OFFICIAL RECORDS:"

But now that I have this "information" (though I wasn't looking for it) I am concerned for her. Divorce isn't a great thing, no matter whether it is mutal or not. I might have been blind over the past several months to changes in her, and/or she professionally doesn't bring her outside world into the therapeutic world. She'd probably agree with the assessment of not bringing her outside world in, but we do feel closeness and trust, as I suspect is supposed to happen in a good therapeutic relationship.

Am I out of line to bring up my concern for her? I know it will be on my mind. But I also know she would most likely tell me, with a tender caring smile, "It isn't your job to take care of me."

And in a more generalize way, is it wrong to feel concern for your therapist and how much concern should/can a client show for their therapist?

Charles McNeil January 29th, 2006 11:17 AM

Re: how much concern should a client show for a therapist?
 
Keep in mind that your therapist is in a professional relationship with you and you're progress is her top priority. Disclosing to her that you are aware of her personal life may hamper her ability to serve you well. Counsellors tend to practice "affective neutrality" when acting within their professional role. Counsellors also maintain a consistent standard concerning personal disclosure. If she hasn't brought it up, clearly she feels it is not relevant to her work with clients nor appropriate information to introduce into the therapeutic relationship. Anyway, it may not be a tradegy to her. Perhaps she had ended a relationship that was not meeting her needs.

A better question is whether your knowlege of her private life poisons the therapeutic environment for you. You'll have to make that determination for yourself. I would tend to ignore this new information and carry on as before, but that's me, not you.

I hope this helps.

Cheers

Charles

littlethree January 30th, 2006 01:43 AM

Re: how much concern should a client show for a therapist?
 
I can see the logical in your answer. And I don't think I'll mention it to her. At least...I'll do as best as I can.

Part of what I'm doing "there in therapy" is attempting to learn how to relate to people and communicate with people in the "real" world (since I have had very few "good" examples of how to do that "successfully" or "confidently"), not just with "strangers", but people who I want to be "more than strangers", including my family and potential friends, people who are closer.

It seems -- that while the therapist setting is a "testing ground" for how to act in the real world, a place to work through things that are holding one back from having "good skills", and you want to have a "good relationship" and feel a "closeness" and "trust" with your therapist to effectively do the "work" -- it still isn't a "real" relationship, in that you cannot completely "play out" and test everything.

So,
question 1: sincerely, I wonder, am I wrong with that assessment?
question 2: in a more generalize way, is it wrong to feel concern for your therapist?
question 3: how much concern should/can a client show for their therapist?

Thank you.

Charles McNeil January 30th, 2006 12:12 PM

Re: how much concern should a client show for a therapist?
 
I really am not in a position to comment further. I am not in a professional relationship with you and don't know your personal details. There are many potential outcomes/goals in the counselling relationship. These would normally be set by the counsellor and client working together. Exploriing these changing goals should be part of any therapeutic relationship.

Always bear in mind that you are the focus of the therapeutic process. The counsellor's private life is (probably) not relevant to the course of counselling you are engaged in. If there are aspects of the counsellor's life she wants you to be aware of, she will disclose. Otherwise, she will not consider such content to be appropriate or suitable. Remember, you don't "officially" know about her life. You only saw a notice in the paper. It could even be associated with another person having the same name as your therapist. It happens!

Charles

littlethree January 30th, 2006 03:06 PM

Re: how much concern should a client show for a therapist?
 
thank you for the effort. :) i'll figure it on on my own.


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