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Managing Confidentiality

Three Things I Learned from My Small-Town Practice

Daniela Gitlin • 1 Comment

By Daniela Gitlin - When you practice in a rural town, sometimes it can feel like everyone is connected to each other. Instead of worrying about boundary and confidentiality violations, I've learned a strategy that embraces the dilemma instead of avoiding it.

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January Quandary: Should I Keep One Partner’s Secret in Couples Therapy?

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford • 3 Comments

By Chris Lyford - Mark and his wife, Nicole, have been in couples therapy for almost six months. But Mark recently requested an individual session, where he revealed he recently shared a kiss with an old girlfriend and has plans to rekindle their friendship. He's asked his therapist to keep the whole thing a secret. Here's how five clinicians say they'd tackle the situation.

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September Quandary: My Client Invited Me to a Family Barbecue!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford • 1 Comment

By Chris Lyford - A therapist recently moved to a new town and discovered that his client's daughter attends the same school as his son. The client recently invited his family to a barbecue, but he feels uncomfortable attending. Here's how five therapists say they'd tackle the situation.

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Are We Taking Boundaries Too Seriously?

A Story About Breaking Tradition, and What Happened Afterwards

Michael Hoyt • No Comments

By Michael Hoyt - We therapists tend to worry a lot about boundaries, sometimes to the point that we forget that sharing our humanity can be a gift, not a distortion. But when is it okay to go with our impulse and when is it wiser to hold back?

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When Guiding Turns to Flirting

A Therapist Shares Her Story

Mary Jo Barrett • 1 Comment

By Mary Jo Barrett - 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. 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.

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Keeping Secrets When Everyone Already Knows Them

A Therapist in Small-Town America Struggles with New Ethical Dilemmas

Jan Michael Sherman • No Comments

By Jan Michael Sherman - When my wife and I moved to a place in the Yukon so small that when someone sneezed at one end of town, someone at the other end reached for the Kleenex, I quickly found that practicing therapy could get pretty tricky. Not only did everyone know everyone else's business, everyone was in everyone else's business.

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VIDEO: Bill Doherty on the New Challenges of Social Engagement

Being an Effective, Ethical Therapist in an Age of Political Upheaval

William Doherty • No Comments

What does it mean to be a dutiful citizen and an effective therapist in the modern day? This is the central question Bill Doherty posed in his keynote address at the 2017 Networker Symposium. In the following video clip from that speech, Doherty explains how we can effectively and ethically deal with political stress in the consulting room.

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Thinking Outside the Gift

A Story of Navigating a Tricky Ethical Issue Creatively

Lisa Ferentz • 1 Comment

By Lisa Ferentz - Sometimes, clients give us the gifts they want for themselves but don’t feel worthy of receiving. And sometimes, by helping them see the attributes in themselves that they admire in us, we can help them reconnect with those qualities.

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The 2016 Election Is Raising Ethical Concerns for Therapists

Is There a Place for Politics in Therapy?

Chris Lyford • 2 Comments

By Chris Lyford - It's almost a cardinal rule that therapy and politics don’t mix. However, concerned about the stakes in this year’s presidential election, some therapists are wondering whether they have a professional, and even moral, obligation to bring politics into the consulting room.

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Avoiding Runaway Ethics in Psychotherapy

Is Risk Management Threatening the Therapeutic Alliance?

Ofer Zur • 1 Comment

Currently, the field is so deluged with dire warnings of imminent professional ruin that many therapists practice under a cloud of fear. At our professional meetings, in the legal columns that are now a regular feature of our journals, and at workshops and seminars, legal professionals, usually without any clinical training whatsoever, are giving their opinions about how we should practice, what we're allowed to do, and what we should never do---and scaring us to death in the process. As it turns out, this extreme self-watchfulness and rigid avoidance of anything resembling a "boundary violation" by a psychoanalytic or risk-management yardstick can do clients real harm.

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