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Re: thanks for the heads up, gg Fallen4myT

Posted by Apperceptor on March 6, 2004, at 19:28:53

In reply to Re: thanks for the heads up, gg Apperceptor, posted by Fallen4myT on March 6, 2004, at 18:55:56

What I am saying is that whether or not it is "okay" to ask is dependent on the unique personalities and dynamic between you and your therapist. So is it "okay," yes, it's "okay," because I do think you should be allowed to say/ask whatever you want in therapy.

However, "allowed" does not mean you necessarily should. If your situation with your therapist makes it seem appropriate, great. However, please, in general, do not assume that your therapist is immune to whatever you say and will just be able to roll with it no matter what. Our difference between "respect" and "protect," it seems, is very small. I do not think you have a DUTY to your therapist unless something is in your therapeutic contract. Therefore, I don't see it as "protecting." But please afford your therapist the respect you would give to anyone else who may not be invincible.

I guess the picture issue at face value isn't what concerns me. I was initially more worried by what these desires for pictures seemed to imply...where they were being placed, how they were being treated, the relationship implicities that APPEARED to be being attached (note I did not say they were. This is only how it sounded to me). Having a picture is fine if that's all it is...I guess if a client asked me for a picture and I thought it was just because they enjoyed having a collection of pictures of those who've helped them, as a previous poster mentioned, I'd be happy to oblige. They already know what I look like, so no harm done.

However, some attitudes seemed initially to be a bit more.....I wish I had the right word. Maladaptive...romantic...fetishistic (not DSM sense, just everyday use). PLEASE, please, pleaaase do not take offense to the use of those words. They are NOT what I am trying to say, but I can't think of a better way to put it and I'm hoping you can get my message. In these cases, I think it might help the therapy process to keep in mind that your therapist is bound by extremely stringent ethical guidelines which, realistically, can be difficult to follow for some people at some times. I guess when I hear a client trying to get a therapist to break those guidelines, I feel a bit disappointed in the motives for therapy. ***HOWEVER*** - and I will not respond to posts about what I just said that ignore what I am about to say:

1. You do not ultimately have any of the responsibility to keep your therapist out of trouble with ethics boards. This is entirely up to him or her.

2. I, and I hope other current and future mental health professionals, would NEVER blame YOU, the client, should an ethical violation take place, regardless of what either you or the therapist may or may have not done to encourage it.

So really, do what you want. This is more of an appeal to compassion and approprium, rather than how "Apperceptor Feels Therapy Should Be, vol. 2."

There is also the issue that you may not anticipate how your requests may affect your therapists. This, again, is not your problem. However, do not be surprised if it doesn't go as planned.

Actual Example from 2 Years Ago (abbreviated, but factual):

<"blah blahs" are not to trivialize, just to edit the parts we are all too familiar with>

Client: Can we just go get something to eat?
Me: I'm sorry, XXX, I think (nice calm boundary talk blah blah).
Client: So you don't like me enough?
Me: I do, but (reiterate boundary blah blah)
Client: So you think I'm nice but you wouldn't date me?
Me: XXX, that isn't quite what I said (rephrase boundary blah)
Client: So are you a faggot?

Now look what happens here. Just so happens, that yes, I am a gay male...a "faggot." How do I respond? For one, the client has used a term that has seriously offended me, and I didn't hesitate to professionally share that with her. But now what is my recompense? Yes, I am a "faggot," but am I comfortable telling clients that while I try to deal with current workplace bias and apply to graduate school? No, not in the least. Can I think of an excuse that won't be obviously scraping the barrel, right there on the spot? No. Have I been caught completely offguard and left stumbling? Yes. Do I continue seeing her? Yes. Has it adversely affected the therapeutic relationship? I try not to let it, I consult with supervisors, I do soul-searching, I remind myself that I am a professional, but......unfortunately, yes! Because I am still a human.

I hope my position is more clear. Please let me know if you'd like more flushed out.

Regards-


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