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Excellent article. Very well written. My T told me early on, after he got to really figure me out, that he has to handle me differently. Thankfully, he has 35 years under his belt and knew he had to stretch the boundaries. The neutrality and distance that would have been used would have sent me walking right out the door feeling like he did not care or understand. The increased emotional availability has been critical for me. I never thought I would ever be able to trust another soul, but we have fought hard to get where we are and in my opinion the seasoned, well-trained and tuned-in T can offer this. They really have to do their own therapy too. He "breaks" many rules with me, but is extremely professional and cautious with me. It's like my therapy with him is customized for me.
Thanks for sharing.
It's written well - I think it would apply equally to many forms of abuse / trauma as well. My main traumas weren't sexual abuse although I have been sexually abused, and in one case I cannot remember most of it - so more may come out at some stage. Reading the article I was relating it to emotional trauma and abandonment from my abusive mother and it seemed to fit well with that for me.
Ms. Control,
I have most articles on Ken Pope's website to be incredibly useful. I very much agree with the article. Although I must say, my T has pretty tight boundaries, and I don't think he has changed he way he practices for me (if he has, he has not given me a clue, but then again, he wouldn't), but he is very emotionally accessible even while keeping his own feelings out of the mix. He demonstrates his care more than speaks it, but that is because he is acutely aware that with my history, words don't mean anything, I will only learn to trust consistent actions. And while he is careful to keep his feelings out of the room, he is fairly open about the facts of his life (married, two kids, training, philosophy etc). Especially in the beginning, he would answer very detailed questions about vacation plans to help me get through breaks. So yes, I would agree that the article is pretty spot on, with the cavet that how it plays out in any particular dyad may look different dependent on the personality and strengths of both the T and the client. No two therapeutic relationships look exactly alike. Broad strokes can be similar.

I, too, enjoyed the article and very much agreed with it. I know the quality of my relationship with my T is extremely important to me and very healing. Yesterday, we had a fairly light session in which we talked about writing and the artistic temperament (my favorite subjects). There was discloser on both sides, and I left the session feeling warmly connected. I also left wondering if my T felt he was going a bit over the line, because at one point he very abruptly brought the conversation around to therapy goals. But I don't know what I'd do without these intimate, connecting sessions; they seem to open up so much for me and empower me to push on.

My T is pretty open about the positive (and dare I say flattering) perception he has of me, but touch is something he absolutely will not entertain in my case. He says in light of the horrific experiences I've had with men, and given that he's close in age to my father (my abuser), it would be cruel and even sadistic for him to touch me physically in just about any way. I don't know that I totally agree with him (I think safe, appropriate touch could be very healing), but he has done a lot to make me feel safe, so I'm trusting his judgment for the present. It can still be a bit of a raw spot for me though. I think if I ever saw him hug or touch another client, I would fall to pieces.

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