That’s what the jargon is for your therapist telling the client something about their own lives.
According to which model you practice it can range from never – ever tell the client about yourself, your family, your opinion, anything that would get in the way of therapy. The classical psychoanalysis model wants the practitioner to be the ‘blank canvas’, so clients project onto this as they know nothing about you, therefore how they react will not be coloured by personal knowledge of the therapist. It brings up a great deal of transference and ensures that the sessions are totally about the client.
In this internet age, unless you have privacy settings on everything, or have no social media presence, it is not hard for clients to know something about you. Bing and Google are the best friend of the curious.
Other humanistic models, such as Gestalt suggest that some disclosure, always to either further the therapy or solidify the relationship believe that some disclosures are worthwhile and necessary.
As a therapist practicing a humanistic way of working and particularly centring on the relationship have to make balancing this an art form. Some clients never ask you how you are, what you are doing at the weekend, where you are holiday-ing. Others ask weekly. Balancing the ‘enough’ can be hard.
Each practitioner has to work out with each individual what is enough. Recognising that once some information has been disclosed there is no eraser that can delete it. That client knows that about you. They will make assumptions based on that information. Consider how a client may feel if you disclose that you are going on a four week world tour staying in five star hotels and flying first class. Their reaction may be different if you say that you are vacationing in a yurt or Blackpool for a week.
So information can still bring up transferences which are valuable to work with, however the client may also feel so close to you that they withhold. It’s the balance between professionalism and being human.
I can get it wrong at times. Experience shows me when I have. As I work more and more I get the balance right more often than not. I am human and know that sometimes it is the mistakes we make as practitioners can be the therapy for the clients…. next blog is there for the writing