This was a helpful read. I especially resonated with this quote:
“Nothing in my training prepared me for the practical long-term reality of spending the bulk of my relational life behind closed doors, keeping the secrets and stories of hundreds if not thousands of people, people with whom I’ve connected more deeply in an hour than I may connect with my boyfriend in several days’ time. (No offense to my boyfriend; it’s just that therapy is its own milieu, the intensity of which is not easily or even desirably reproduced in daily personal relationships.) My clients move me and inspire me to grow in myriad ways, yet I can’t talk about them openly, can’t say who they are or how I know them when I see them in public, can’t talk about their impact on me without being extremely careful about what I say. Beyond that, I can’t even share about myself in the written word without wondering if I’m “over-disclosing” or will lose my credibility as a therapist, or be judged by my colleagues for struggling like a regular person with life, relationships, and my own limitations.”
As a clinician, (I stopped doing direct service 5 years ago and am now a supervisor and administrator) with a trauma history the cumulative impact of remaining silent, minimizing or hiding who I am as a real person out of respect for my profession and ‘keeping secrets’, roughly 15 years of secrets has had an unwelcomed impact on my own pursuit of authenticity. I began writing very quietly several years ago under a pseudonym during a major life transition. At the time I was living in a rural remote area, not practicing and was longing for connection and community. Social media became the safe outlet. I’d always found writing to be a great way to have a voice yet as I progressed there were no rules I could recall from graduate school on conducting myself as a professional while also having an online presence; the internet was brand new back then. As I continue to research and advocate for trauma-informed care I’m discovering the need for revisiting our professional ethics and perhaps bridging the gap between ‘us and them’ while striking a new balance between boundaries, authenticity, respect and safety for those we serve and as well as ourselves.