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I solemnly swear it was not intended for anyone. Big Grin. The Wordpress stats on my blog provide me with search terms that people used to find my blog. I sometimes google the odder ones to see how I came up as a response and was doing so today and it led me to this article. Smiler

You just gave a perfect description of my relationship with my T. Its deep, intimate and loving and a know a fair amount about his life, but very little to none of his feelings or emotions. The ones I do hear about are couched in the blandest terms imaginable. He's so good at it that I really don't realize until later how little info he really revealed, even to a direct question.

Very interesting, AG. Thanks for sharing the article! My T sometimes will share something about herself, but always keeps the focus on me and my needs. She too is really talented at not directly answering my direct question Smiler although I will say I don't ask her too many direct questions because I know she won't fully answer and I don't want to make her uncomfortable. I did recently ask her why she decided to become a therapist. She answered directly, mostly...but of course, she didn't share anything too specific. She alluded to some childhood/family problems as a secondary reason but was not specific.

I think the topic of therapist self disclosure is fascinating and am always interested in hearing how different therapists respond to personal questions. When I've told some of my friends (also in school for psych) about what my T discloses, some of them are surprised. But honestly, I've found all of her disclosures as helpful in that I feel closer to her. The only thing I really dislike is when she talks about other clients. She of course maintains confidentiality, but on occasion, she has mentioned that one of her other clients is doing such and such or has this issue similar to mine. I don't like that at all. I've kind of told her as directly as I could (I have assertiveness issues haha) and she's mostly stopped mentioning other clients.

Anyway, thanks for sharing!
A couple of months ago I read a similar paper by Janine Roberts called Transparency and Self-Disclosure in Family Therapy - Dangers and Possibilities. It was a very interesting read and really clearly laid out how use of self by the therapist can be helpful to clients. I thought it illustrated really well the pitfalls too.

I think in a lot of ways this article is more accessible though. She uses some of the same cases she used in the paper I read but has written it in such a way that it is far more helpful to clients.

Thanks for posting it, AG.
I haven't written here in a long time but this particular thread really struck a chord with me.

I have worked through a lot in the almost 2 years I've been seeing T. For a long time there was this intense attachment/transference that I could not let go of. I felt I NEEDED to be near her, to be close to her, to KNOW her constantly and deeply. And knowing I could not was what made it a thousand times worse.

Now, I have worked hard and am largely over this intense feeling, but I have a lingering curiosity about T that won't go away. It does not feel obsessive, but it is still there. She doesn't self-disclose very much at all, and when she does there is direct relevance to whatever I am experiencing. I find I want to tell her that I would like to know more about her... I don't really want to know about her problems, because then I might feel like I had to solve those problems for her. (Actually I really would like to know about PAST problems that she has had, where I could feel she was talking objectively and not feeling uncomfortable discussing it.) But I mostly want to know little things. Her favorite color, her favorite restaurant, her birthday, etc. But these are not things she is likely to talk about because they would have no bearing on my therapy. Except that I think they would. It would make me feel less frustrated and it would be nice to know she felt comfortable telling me a little about herself.

Part of what has helped me to get past the transference issues has been seeing her as more of an imperfect person rather than the perfect idol I used to see her as. One day she could not get her computer to work and she was a bit frustrated, which I actually found quite see a side of her that isn't perfect! It helped me to feel like we were more on the same level. She seemed more human to me, if that makes sense.

Sometimes I try to think of ways to get her to reveal some little tidbit about herself without asking her directly (she will answer SOME direct questions but I almost never ask for fear that I will feel embarrassed if she chooses not to answer.)

I don't know if any of this is making sense, but I seem to have this lingering curiosity...maybe it is just the last stage of the journey. The last hurdle to get over for me. But it makes me wonder if her self-disclosure would help or hurt the process. I think it would help- but she has gotten me this far with very little self-disclosure, so who knows? It is an interesting topic for sure!

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