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Depressed therapist

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Mia23

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Hi just wondering if it's appropraite for a therapist to express to a client that he is depressed or that he used to self harm?
 
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SomersetScorpio

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I think that's a tough question, and I suppose that it depends on how that revelation has made you feel (presuming that you're referring to a therapist that has disclosed this to you?).

My initial thought is that it seems to be crossing boundaries.
However, i'm not sure about the context of the conversation in which he said this and whether or not he was trying to make a point that he understands your pain... even so, I don't think it's very professional to say that.

It's difficult when someone in a position like that confides in you.
Whilst no medical professionals have said anything like this to me, my old home tutor disclosed that she had post-natal depression. I was only 13 when she told me and it made me feel a bit odd, knowing that about her.
 
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notrealname

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Depends on the type of therapy.

Some therapists will deliberately try to relate to a client - so if you are depressed and self harm then he will try to show that you are not alone, or may try to provide hope by showing he has changed and you can too.

My therapist would relate to me over things like focussed attention (getting extremely absorbed in what I'm doing, which can cause me to find it difficult to keep up with social things), or self sacrifice (feeling guilty about others).

Other therapists when I was younger would relate to me about eating disorders by talking about how difficult they find it to have 'just one drink' or something like that.

However, if you find it uncomfortable, then change therapist.
 
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Mia23

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.. I told him a lot was going on and don’t know how Much more I could take and he said to hang there and he would hang in there with me and he said that he was sad a lot too and I told him I was sorry he felt that way an. He said that if we stick together we could get though it.. Then he saw that I self harm and he told me that I shouldnt do that, that it wasn’t good for the mind and that he used to self harm too so he understood why I do it. It sounded strange to me because he has never said anything like that to me before…
 
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AliceinWonderland

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I don't think it's appropriate. Maybe the type of therapy you're having uses this sort of identification with the client deliberately, I don't know, it's not something I have ever come across. And if that's the case, I wonder what the reasoning behind it is? Because to me, it would seem to shift the focus away from the client's issues, and blur the boundaries as to who is helping who. Therapy is supposed to be an 'artificial' situation, where the support and help is all in one direction, it's not supposed to be a reciprocal friendship. At least that's how it's been in my experience. I'd be pretty confused and annoyed if a therapist told me things like this. As for saying 'if we stick together we can get through this', sounds like he's confused about the boundaries of his role. Sorry, I think he sounds unprofessional, crossing a line by disclosing things about himself, and making out this is something where you are 'in it together'. A therapist is not a friend, therapy is not reciprocal like that. I feel annoyed on your behalf that he is misguided enough to take this approach, basically adding his own needs/issues into the mix, when the reason you are there is to focus on yourself and your own issues.

I agree with notrealname, if it makes you uncomfortable, change therapist if you can.
 
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AliceinWonderland

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How long have you been seeing him, and has the therapy been otherwise helpful? I'm sorry you are feeling so overloaded with everything, and that you feel you can't take much more. Sorry, I should have said this at the outset! I think I just felt rather strongly about therapy and professional boundaries.

Welcome to the forum as well Mia :welcome: I hope you'll find it helpful.
 

MarlieeB

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Hi and Welcome to the forum.

I personally don't think it is all that professonal to be talking to you about their own problems, especially when it is something that could actually trigger you into doing it.

Also can I please ask for people not to use specifics in describing self harm. Not telling anyone off, we have all done it, it's a easy mistake to make.

Take care

Marliee x
 
Silver

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I'm sure he didn't mean any harm but he is breaching boudaries and could get into a lot of trouble if you were to report him. Maybe you should do that to help him do his job better. I think he is probably not going to be much good to you if he is in a state himself, dealing with stuff himself. He should have had personal therapy before becoming a therapist but obviously he need a lot more. I would leave and get another one unless it is just a kind person that you want to talk to rather than someone who is actually going to do some work on you. You need a therapist to be smarter, more well, more intelligent than you are i think. He doesn't sound like any of those.
 
calypso

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:welcome: to the forum.

Just a note Mia, we don't allow specific words for SH on here as they trigger other people. You haven't done anything wrong, and we have edited your posts, but thought you would prefer me to point this out to you. Hope you don't mind me saying this.
 
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notrealname

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Yeah, now I've read how that came about I don't think that's helpful. The therapist should act as a kind of 'healthy role model' to provide strength to the client - a kind of secure base for you to go back to, someone who is always ok and can always listen. That's why therapists have to have so much therapy themselves before they begin.

I would ask for a re-referral and I agree it would be a good thing for everyone if you reported him.
 
pepecat

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I would also say it's not appropriate for them to do that. The therapist is supposed to be a sort of 'blank slate' for you to put anything and everything on to - whatever crap you want, without knowing anything about them that could hinder that process.

I can see why he might have done it - as a way of letting you know he's been there and understands it, but at the same time it's not entirely appropriate. If my therapist had said that to me it would have got me wondering all sorts of stuff - why had they done it, did they still do it, is that why they became a therapist, what if I say stuff that triggers them, is what I'm saying hitting a nerve and upsetting them.... all that stuff.
I'm not sure I'd have felt able to be so open again - it'd make me wonder what else could potentially upset them.

As for saying he'd hang in there with you - I don't think that's an issue at all, personally. It means he's prepared to be ther for you and support you and kinda come alongside and support. I'd say that was ok to say.
My therapist said something similar to me one - I was saying about how opening up and talking more felt a bit like jumping off a cliff, and she said 'We'll do it together'. I think decent therapy is meant to be about feeling like someone's on your side, rooting for you, prepared to stick with it (and you) when things get bad and difficult stuff comes up. That's what makes the therapy work.
 
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