This post is unlikely to be of much interest to anyone but me; however, these are some thoughts I’ve been thinking, and I decided to write. This weekend marks 6 months that I have been a blogger. When I started doing this, it was for two reasons: 1) I wanted a reason to practice writing, to find out if anybody would care to read anything I’d have to say, and 2) Pure recreation, silliness, unwinding, stress-relief, etc. Since I began, I have discovered other motivations and inspirations, but these two remain the most important. I never intended to blog for therapy, or for self-discovery, or to send anyone a message, or any such thing.
I read and enjoy a lot of other blogs. Sometimes I read someone who does what I call “naked blogging.” People who seem to be expressing their truest, most vulnerable selves here in blogworld. And I try to be appropriately reverent; it is a sacred thing when a human being risks showing other human beings who he or she really is. As some of you have commented, and more of you have probably noticed, I don’t blog naked. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, I wish I did. But I don’t, and I won’t. Sometimes I email naked, in response to a naked post. Or I even comment naked. But I don’t usually do a whole naked post. Here’s why I don’t blog naked:
1) Directly to my right as I sit at my computer, is a window.
2) I am a very private person. I have quite a lot of friends, a lot of family, and only Jif and maybe one or two girlfriends know most everything about me. Only God knows absolutely everything. In spite of the volume of words that come out here, in realworld, I listen much more than I talk. It is simply not my way, not my temperament to tell all here. And as I said, it was never my goal. This is where I am as goofy as I can be, without getting my professional license revoked.
3)Here is the biggest reason why I don’t blog naked. It’s the reason that I wished I could blog for the longest time before I ever took the plunge. I thought that a therapist can’t, shouldn’t, have a personal blog. Sometimes I still think that, and I try to walk a very fine line between letting the world see some genuine parts of me, and not letting current or future clients see anything that could impact negatively on their treatment.
Some of the therapy that I do is cognitive and behavioral. In that setting, and with doing marital counseling, the therapist is sort of like a coach or a consultant. In that type of counseling, it’s OK for the therapist to reveal some of her personal experiences. Not a lot, but some. Sometimes it is genuinely helpful to a client to know that the therapist has dealt with something similar to what they are dealing with. That’s the criteria for when I reveal something personal: is it therapeutic to say this thing to this person at this time?
This is a very small world. Clients have discovered this blog, via various avenues. Only a couple of them, but still. And that’s OK. I could have been much more anonymous on here than I have. I took some calculated risks, but have not revealed anything that I believe could affect anyone negatively. However, because I don’t have any way of knowing who will be reading here, I have to, on some level, assume that clients will read. So everything that I write must go through that filter. It gets even more important for those clients with whom I use more “psychodynamic” kinds of treatment. This is longer term therapy, relies very heavily upon the relationship between the therapist and client that is built over time. One of the tools of this therapy is a phenomenon called “transference.” Briefly (and volumes have been written about this phenomenon), this is when the client transfers onto the therapist thoughts, feelings, etc., that originally would have been directed toward another significant person in the client’s life. Mother, grandmother, brother, ex-wife, perpetrator, whatever. Whomever that client may have unfinished business with. In order for this tool of therapy to be effective, the therapist has to present herself as pretty much a blank screen. The reality of her history, her personality, etc., can’t get in the way. In the process of working through the transference, some healing, some recovery takes place. Perspective gradually shifts to the here-and-now, and the unfinished business is more finished.
If I blogged naked, I couldn’t be a blank screen for those people who need that type of therapy, and their treatment would be compromised. It’s not OK for me to make that compromise so that I can have a richer blogging experience. And that’s OK with me. This experience is plenty rich as it is.
Another risk if I revealed my own struggles in the way that the naked bloggers do, is that clients could become concerned about me. I find that most people who avail themselves of therapy are sensitive, compassionate people who could easily become concerned for their therapist if they knew she was having a tough time. That’s not fair to those clients. The time and money that they spend with me is all about them; I’ll get my own attention somewhere else.
The personal things that I do reveal here have to do mostly with my humor and my faith. These two components are so much a part of me that I couldn’t hide them in real world if I tried. That’s why you get the goofy and you get the Sunday Post.
I continue to wrestle with where the boundaries are here. I have read other therapist bloggers who reveal much more than I would be comfortable with. I don’t judge them for that; I just have to do what I think is best for me and mine. And I’m sure there are still other therapists who believe as I once did, that we shouldn’t have personal blogs at all. I will never go completely naked here; but I am increasingly feeling led to blog some experiences that I’ve had that I believe could actually be of benefit to readers. Even client readers. I’m still working that out. Stay tuned. And if you’ve read this far, aren’t you a loyal blogfriend? Thank you for that