“These are my confessions. You may not like what I have to say.”
You might’ve seen a therapist or psychologist in real life. Or maybe you’ve only seen them in the movies.
Either way, you probably get the drift of the therapist-client relationship: Basically, the client spills the details of their souls, while the therapist takes notes silently, keeping her thoughts to herself.
Until now, that is.
A therapist has started an anonymous blog, Therapist Confessions, to share the truth about her clients, her most awkward work-related encounters, and her own struggles with mental health. The candid confessions are a reminder not to “put your therapist on a pedestal,” the blog’s unnamed author writes.
“These are my confessions. You may not like what I have to say,” she warns. “We’re all human.”
Today, we bring you the most revealing, intriguing and downright strange responses from the blog.
Does being a therapist make your own relationship easier?
“Actually, therapists have a higher likelihood of divorce than non-therapists,” the US-based therapist writes. “While we can give people the tools to help themselves, that doesn’t necessarily mean we know what to do with the tools when it comes to ourselves.”
That said, she says: “In my case, the relationship I’m in now is fairly healthy.”
What do you do when a client cries?
“I don’t typically physically comfort a client,” she explains.
“Comforting clients sometimes sends them the message that we can’t handle their emotions or they’re overwhelming us. If a client is crying, I wouldn’t necessarily just say I wait, but I let them typically try to speak first.”
What should I do if my therapist flirts with me?
She says it makes her “angry” to hear of a fellow therapist crossing such a clear professional boundary.
“If you feel your therapist is being inappropriate with you, I would bring it up with them and their supervisor if they have one. Their supervisor should make the proper steps,” she says.
“It is never okay for a therapist to flirt or make a move on a client due to the nature of the relationship,” she adds. “As a client you put your trust and vulnerability into a professional, and them acting on that would be violating you and their ethics.”
She adds: “I would encourage you to look for a new therapist.”
Do you ever made friends with clients?
While she hasn’t yet befriended a client, she says she wouldn’t totally rule it out.
“I’ve given clients permission to look me up on Facebook or to email me after two years have passed from the point of last contact if they want to be my friend because [professional guidelines] spell out that we must wait two years before having any sort of personal relationship with clients,” she says.
But she adds that a friendship with a client would require “changing the dynamic of the relationship” in a big way.
“I’ve definitely seen myself being friends with some of my clients but I’m not sure it could ever work out that way,” she says. “With friendships, it’s about give and take. In a therapeutic relationship, we give and clients take. That’s how it should be, but it doesn’t make the relationship any less significant.”
Do you have favourite clients?
The short answer to this one is: Yes.
“My favourite clients are clients that I’ve had since I was an intern, which was quite some time ago,” she says.
“While I’ve watched them grow and change, I’ve also grown and changed with them. I get a bit sentimental thinking of my beginning days as a clinician and thinking of where they were when they first began treatment.”