“Too much” or just being human?

Few weeks ago, I wrote about my fear of not being a capable therapist as someone who struggles with my own mental health. I’ll be starting graduate school this fall to become a licensed therapist, and I’ve been dwelling on this thought a whole lot.

I came to conclusion that it would not make me an incompetent clinician, but it comes down to knowing my limit and boundaries. Which includes making sure I am well and myself is treated before I try to work with clients.

Well, something new came up in my mind.

How would YOU feel if you find out your therapist has a blog where they disclose about their mental health? They are seeing a therapist (even as a therapist) just like you, seeing a psychiatrist and so forth – and all of this – you find out by reading their blog.

I will be THIS therapist in few years if I decide to keep on posting and using my real name in the blogging community.

I just don’t know if that is just… “too much” or even would be considered unethical?

Of course, I would never be telling my clients to go check out my personal blog page, but I’m talking about in cases where they may stumble upon it.

How would you feel/ what do you think about a therapist having their own mental health blog – where they disclose their mental health conditions?

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8 Replies to ““Too much” or just being human?”

  1. I think your blog can be good for you as and possibly your future job us and its probably already helped the people that have read your posts.

    I used to ride at a horse stable that pretty much helped teens and kids become more mentally stable. The owner of the horse barn wasn’t a licensed therapist, but what she’d been through helped her to understand me better. She is one of the kindest people I know and she’s helped me through probably the toughest time in my life.

    I think it good that therapists are willing to see other therapists. Every single person in this world has some kind of vice or quirk. Becoming the patient might help you to better understand what might work and what might not.

  2. I would be comforted and inspired by it. I’d much rather have a therapist who is willing to face and work through their issues.

  3. It’s a complicated issue. Personally, I would recommend that you don’t blog under your own name, and here’s why: therapists often use self-disclosure to help their clients understand that there is no shame in being depressed, or anxious, or whatever, or so they can know that others have also experienced trauma. That’s great. But therapists do it in a thoughtful, considered way, thinking seriously about how it might help a particular client at a particular time. And they also decide what to reveal and how much. That is very different than having a client you have been working with for three months decide to google you and read everything you have ever posted. That might set the client off, or hit a sore spot, or simply distract from the project at hand, which is the client’s health and healing process. There is a reason that therapists protect their privacy, and it’s not only for their own sakes, but also so they can keep their clients’ focus on what they are there for–their own personal growth and healing.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as too negative. I think it’s important to blog on these issues. I admire your courage in using your own name (I don’t use mine on my own blog, where I often discuss my therapy and past personal experiences in considerable detail). I really respect that a lot. However, having been in therapy for a long time and gone through periods of thinking way too much about my therapist and yes, googling her, I don’t think it would have been helpful for me to know too much about her internal, personal life.

    I should add that I don’t think having mental health struggles yourself in any way impairs your ability to be a great therapist. I actually find it reassuring to know my therapist has been in therapy. That tells me she knows how hard it can be to allow yourself to be so vulnerable. So that’s not the issue. It’s just that I think you may want to limit how many details and which details and when you share them with your future clients.

    And of course, I’m just one opinion. Ultimately, you will need to weigh these issues for yourself and your emerging professional practice. I wish you all the best.

    1. Thank you! Your response really made me think on both sides and helped me made my decisions! I think it just took an honest third opinion to help me realize what it would cost for me to have a blog with my identity right up there.

      1. Oh good, I’m glad you found it thought-provoking and not too negative! I really do admire your courage and authenticity in being open about what’s going on for you.

  4. I don’t think I would doubt my clinician’s practice but, like Q, I have googled my therapists/pdocs and if I read about their personal struggles or life in a casual setting (like a blog) it might be difficult to relate to them as neutrally as the therapeutic setting is helpful for. Would you be ok if a patient commented on your posts? If they bring it up in a session? That’s not to say you shouldn’t share your experience, I think a book can offer a lot more control?

    All the best!

  5. I think it depends on how much you’re disclosing on your blog. I’m all for disclosing one’s own mental illness to clients (I’m a nurse) when they’re likely to benefit, but it’s the kind of thing you’d want to have control over rather than it being something that happens because a client accidentally stumbled across your blog. If you’re going to lay everything bare in a blog it might be a good idea to obscure your identity a little bit, which could be as simple as only using your first name rather than your full name.

  6. If I were to become a therapist, I would go for an anonymous blog for all of the reasons people have already mentioned. Clients should not know that much personal information about their therapist. It could prove very counter-productive. And in rare instances, depending on how much you put on your blog, it could even be a dangerous for you.

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