Hi and welcome to this week’s Question and Answer post!
I hope you find this useful and informative.
These Wednesday posts wouldn’t be possible without your questions, so get asking!
Either leave a comment below with your question, or message me via the contact form below.
This week’s question comes from one of my lovely Twitter followers.
Is it OK for counsellors to talk about their clients in their personal therapy?
Firstly, thanks for this very important question, following my last post about a therapist disclosing their own attendance to counselling.
Another thought that might cross that client’s mind would be “oh! does that mean they are talking about me in their therapy?, I’m not sure how to feel about that!”
The first point I’d like to make is that therapy is as confidential for your therapist as it is for you when you see your counsellor. The therapist’s counsellor is bound by the same ethical frame that your therapist is when working with you. So in this aspect, I would say not to worry about this.
Second, I can see why this might be a worry to you. Now, if we think about it in regards to your own therapy…you talk about other people to your therapist, people who your therapist has never and most likely will never meet. You might mention their name, John, Mary, Laura. But your therapist doesn’t know much more than their first name, so in a way they are anonymised.
I believe that if I were to talk about my clients with my therapist, I would only use their first names, or sometimes not even use a name and say “I have a client that…”, which would keep you completely anonymised. Your therapist’s supervisor might live in a different town (mine does, I supervise online!) so the chances of you two meeting or figuring out who you are is very slim.
I would say, if you don’t want to be talked about – except in your therapist’s Supervision – it is your right to ask the counsellor to respect your boundaries. Of course, this might need to be disregarded in a limited amount of cases that counsellors do have to report such as child protection issues, terrorism related disclosures, money laundering and the possibility of you (or someone you know) harming yourself or others.
A third thing to consider is the fact that the therapist goes to counselling to work through their own thoughts and feelings, making the clients or people they might talk about secondary to their feelings and thoughts. Their therapist will help them refocus on themselves rather than dwell on things that could be better dealt with in Supervision or with the client themselves.
Finally, as I said in the previous question – if the therapist is in therapy themselves, and if the therapist is talking about their clients in their therapy, the worst that can happen is that they work through something that will in turn help their clients work through what they bring in further sessions. A similar process happens in supervision.
This is what I feel and believe about the topic at hand. I found this link where the therapists answering the question have further ideas and thoughts about this exact question.
I hope this has answered your question, and if you have any further comments or questions, do leave me a message below!