Sunday, August 31, 2008

Write on that Slate?

Now here's the next question in my Questions to Ponder Series:

When I asked if it's okay to give a referral for a gay therapist, several readers wrote in saying that it's not reasonable to "out" another therapist. Fair enough. Other readers wrote in implying that the patient's concern should be examined, that it's part of the treatment to use the patient's concerns to help them learn about themselves, Grist For The Mill, so to speak.

I'll take it as a given that a) therapists/people-in-general have the right to their privacy and some things they may feel are personal and they may not want to share with their patients/other-people, and b) therapy should be about the patient and it's an abuse of the patient's time to spend it talking about the therapist's personal life in any detail.

Aside from those facts: How exactly does it damage the patient's treatment if he knows some information about a psychotherapist's personal life? Do we really truly believe that there is a difference in treatment outcomes if a therapist wears a wedding ring or doesn't? If he answers a question about where he went on vacation or if he has children?