Why are psychotherapists prohibited from disclosing their personal stories?
There are some explanations. First, own talk inflicts some prejudice on the client. Clients who have a similar background to the therapist can have a familiarity to the therapist. In contrast, clients who support an opposing party may feel hostile to the therapist. Such biased ideas are often inhibiting the therapeutic relationship and do damage to the therapy itself.
Second, some clients have a difficulty to make a boundary between the therapist and themselves. If personal information is disclosed, they can misunderstand the therapeutic alliance as if everything is accepted in therapy. Indeed, some cases have been reported in which therapists were stoked by a client.
Then, is disclosing permitted in the case these risks can be avoided?
One day, I heard a physician told the client suffering from waist pain that he also had a slipped disk. The client listened to the solution the physician had adopted. It seemed the client was relieved to some extent by knowing physician got recovered from terrible symptoms.
I think that many people justify the physician’s act. Is it different from the iron rule of psychotherapy?
For your understanding, I will replace the story in a psychotherapeutic context. A client visits the clinic because he has severe depression. He is wondering whether he should commit suicide. In the interview with the client, the therapist says to him, “Actually, I had depression, and I wanted to die in the past. But, now I am absolutely OK. So, you are hopeful, too.”
How do you feel about the therapist’s talk? Do you want to consult him? I reckon many people deny it.
Then, what is the difference?