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|Case Studies Jan/Feb - Page 10|
Personal disclosure, intentionally or otherwise, is part of every therapeutic process. Whether we like it or not, as therapists, everything about us discloses some measure of "personal" information: the atmosphere of our work space, its furnishings, the way we dress and style our hair, the sound of our voices, our gestures, our bodies, even whether those bodies put on or take off a few pounds. Moreover, through the course of each session, we're continually engaged in a conscious decision-making process regarding what we say and why. Hopefully, our choices derive from a "wisdom sense" that includes our professional training, moment-by-moment monitoring of our emotional responses, accrued information about our client, and, beyond that, an intuitive sense of what feels right.
I chose to share certain aloneness experiences with Lisa primarily because I'd come to the conclusion that she was like most women I work with, who entered aloneness thinking they were the first and only ones to do so; in fact, it's why I decided to write a book on the subject.
The paragraph to which the commentator alludes is meant to give a general, not literal, rendering of this therapeutic choice. My later decision not to answer Lisa's question about my personal life was a reminder that, beyond letting her know that, as women, we can survive and even flourish in our aloneness, what mattered were her feelings, her circumstances, and the choices she felt comfortable making.
Florence Falk, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist in private practice who's taught at Rutgers University. She's the author of On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone. Her next book is Longing Steals the Heart. Contact: email@example.com. Website: www. florencefalk.com.
Janine Roberts, Ed.D., is professor emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and associate editor for international scholarship for Family Process. Her books include Rituals for Our Times, Tales and Transformations, and the book of poems, The Body Alters. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to the Editor about this department may be e-mailed to email@example.com.