Ending the National Health Problem of Family Violence
By Mary Jo Barrett - Family violence remains a national health problem that few therapists have been trained to deal with and, sadly, few of us want to address. On a good day, it’s a messy, complicated business, which doesn’t bring much financial reward or professional status. But over 40 years, we've amassed a wealth of knowledge on how to help traumatized families.
Acknowledging That Good and Evil Can Exist in the Same Person
By Mary Jo Barrett - Families suffering from trauma, abuse, and neglect can begin to make the crucial distinction between a chronic state of overarousal and vigilance and "reality" only once a sense of physical and psychological safety has been established. Only after this first stage is it even possible to focus on changing dysfunctional mindsets, counterproductive behavior, and destructive family patterns.
Discussing Ethics with Clients from the First Session
By Mary Jo Barrett - As the status of the therapist has shifted from that of an oversized figure with Svengali-like powers to that of an overworked and underpaid service provider at the mercy of the client-consumer who might sue him or her for some infraction, what are we to make of our traditional ethical codes?
Pulling Back When Therapy Stretches Ethical Boundaries
Before it happened to me, I had never heard even my closest colleague talk about falling in love with a client. In our consultation group, the subject was once broached purely theoretically, and everyone became uncomfortably quiet. The message we gave each other was clear: Whatever you do, don't talk about having a crush on a client. Yet, I want to break our conspiracy of silence so that we can get help when we need it. And believe me, when it came to Scott, I did.
Making Sure Treatment Sticks Outside the Therapy Room
Far too often, trauma survivors appear to progress in therapy and then go home and fall right back into the same old patterns of negative emotion and dysfunctional relationships. According to Mary Jo Barrett, author of Treating Complex Trauma, a client’s family can be the therapist’s biggest ally in making sure progress is sustained outside the consulting room. Still, she says, many clinicians overlook how family therapy can support recovery.
Challenging Our Culture of Avoidance
Before it happened to me, I had never heard even my closest colleague talk about falling in love with a client. In our consultation group, the subject was once broached purely theoretically, and everyone became uncomfortably quiet. Nobody shared a personal experience. The message we gave each other was clear: Whatever you do, don't talk about having a crush on a client! And that may be why I would rather write about being seen naked by a client at the health club, or dealing with anti-Semitic remarks in session, than describe to you what happened. Yet, I want to break our conspiracy of silence so that we can get help when we need it. And believe me, when it came to Scott, I did.
Bringing the Client’s World into the Treatment Room
In the past few decades, we’ve made important strides in our ability to help overwhelmed and hopeless people overcome the stigma previously attached to trauma symptoms, learn new thinking and self-regulation skills, and even find a new sense of restored well-being. But then they go home, and far more often than we’d like, when they’re back in their daily lives with family, friends, and coworkers, they don’t do so well.
Why the Therapy Process Needs to be Free of Boundary Issues to be Successful
We all know that the collaboration between therapist and client is the keystone of therapy. What many therapists may not realize is how much clarifying boundary issues contributes to establishing and strengthening that collaboration.
When Unique Issues Arise, Therapist Need to Determine Whether or Not it’s a Potential Ethical Violation
Sometimes ethical violations we face with our clients become so subtle and complex that we risk alienating clients when we’re trying our best to protect them.
As ethical violation guidelines in therapy become more ambiguous, setting clear professional boundaries remains a central concern
Increasingly the general public has come to regard therapists as just another kind of service provider, rather than a potential Svengali. Thus the relative power of therapist and client has shifted as has the role of professional boundaries.