As a therapist in NJ, I was trained to implement a zero self disclosure method in my practice.
It made sense in theory, so as to not distract your clients from their reasons for being in my office. Our ethics mantra is “do no harm”. The idea that a client could become consumed by who I am was easy to accept in the beginning of my career.
But as I grew in my career, I learned something.
Humans connect with humans.
I moved around the country, observing how different the practices I worked in approached the idea of self disclosure. And what I saw was that it was often a powerful tool in the therapeutic alliance and rapport. Clients like to know that we are people too. They like to know that we are not robotic and that looking up to us does not mean expecting perfection from themselves.
I was lucky enough to find another therapist who not only felt the same way, but was willing to go public with it. Willing to be vulnerable and share what it is like to be a therapist, but more importantly, to be a human and a therapist. Lindsay Buvel, LPC started a blog called The Human Therapist, where she shared what it was like to come out of the robotic therapist shell we were trained to live in.
When she asked me to become part of her mission, I couldn’t run to her fast enough.
The result is the Human Therapist VLog: Lessons We’ve Learned.