How to Find Pathways to Empathy
Given their arrogance, condescension, and lack of empathy, narcissists are notoriously difficult clients. The key to working with them is being direct and transparent about the roiling emotions they trigger in us.
Boundaries in an Age of Informality
As the status of therapist has shifted from an oversized figure with Svengali-like powers to an overworked and underpaid service provider at the mercy of the client-consumer...
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Think Before You Get Personal
The ways we disclose, read cues from our clients, and dialogue about what’s been divulged are the keys to whether therapist self-disclosure helps clients’ therapeutic goals or gets in the way.
Cosmetic Neurology * Another look at APA's stance on torture * The effects of internet porn * In praise of older meds * Sexual attraction in couples therapy
Sometimes It's Okay to Trust Your Instincts
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.
From Client to Friend to Client
The blanket disapproval of "dual relationships" in some circles draws no distinction between "boundary violations," which can harm a client, and "boundary crossings," which produce no harm and may even enhance the therapeutic connection.
Let's End the Conspiracy of Silence About Ethical Dilemas
One way or another, all therapists face similar questions about therapeutic boundaries: Should we accept the gift? How much do we self-disclose? What do we do when a dual relationship can't be avoided? How do we safely negotiate the currents of sexuality? Moved by our best instincts, our weaknesses or simply by the sheer ambiguity of the situation, we can often find ourselves striking out on our own and coloring outside the lines.
A Therapist Caught in the Act of Being Herself
After the incident, I came to a decision to consciously bring some of the wisdom and skill of my profession into my life with my children and husband at home. And I started bringing into the office the honesty and imperfection I had once tried to sequester in my personal life.
Violating the Ultimate Therapeutic Taboo
I doubt that I would fit many people's image of a therapist who would violate sexual boundaries with a client. Before it happened, I certainly did not fit my own. On the day I first met Cara, I was a well-respected social worker at a venerable psychiatric hospital in the Midwest. I viewed myself as a caring and conscientious professional. Yet, over the course of two years, I progressed from sympathizing with Cara, to over-sympathizing with her, buying her groceries, paying her rent and, finally, sleeping with her.
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.
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