Therapists’ self-disclosure of recovery status (not into coming up with a creative title tonight, haha)

I recently read this article about the pros and cons of therapists’ self-disclosure of their own eating disorder history. I’m not going to say a lot about this now because it’s something that I’m sure will come up more and more the further along I get in this journey, and I expect my opinion to shift some, but I wanted to at least mention it.

I’ve decided that I really do want to work with eating disorders one day– maybe not right away when I start seeing clients, but eventually when I’m ready. Do I disclose that I’ve recovered from my own eating disorder? Do I not mention it but be honest about it if asked? What about this blog? Should I stop writing in it once I’m a practicing therapist? Do I just make sure it stays completely anonymous (which it pretty much is except for the pic in the “About this Blog” section and my gravatar thing)? I know how people love to google their therapists… what if they found this? Would that be absolutely disastrous? Am I getting way ahead of myself in worrying about this so early in my journey? I haven’t even gotten accepted into a program yet, haha… but I like to be prepared. 😉

I’d love to hear your opinions– from the therapist side, the client side, or the average Joe side.

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2 thoughts on “Therapists’ self-disclosure of recovery status (not into coming up with a creative title tonight, haha)”

  1. My own therapist (a man) has disclosed a number of random things about his life, usually pertaining to a certain event or experience that helps explain or support a concept we’re talking about. I don’t know if my therapist suffers from depression or lost a spouse to cancer but so far it has not been an issue and I have not asked him nor would I expect him to tell me. I don’t feel like it would affect the therapy or the treatment because I am realising more and more how much weight (pun not intended) the relationship carries (therapist-client) in the recovery process. I have not brought up any of my food/eating disorder related issues (I am still in denial) but I am confident in the relationship and trust that he could help me through it. (I’m fairly certain he’s never had an eating disorder but who knows eh?)

    If I was consulting a therapist specifically for an eating disorder, and she was a woman (yes I know, men are not immune), I would not be surprised if she had recovered from one herself. I mean it is very common (unfortunately) for women/girls to experience some sort of anxiety over food/weight/self-esteem etc of varying degrees. The girl I train had an eating disorder when she was in her mid teens. Now she wants to study psychology and has an interest in helping others recover.

    In regards to your situation, I would take down the picture and keep writing anonymously if it helps you. If you end up sitting across a client one day who asks you straight up, I don’t think you would need to lie. Perhaps you wouldn’t want to disclose it up front though (just like you wouldn’t tell your clients you suffer from depression or something)…

    (I’m an average Jane, widowed, seeing a therapist for bereavement and depression. I had an eating disorder in my late teens and I feel like it is coming back and getting out of control but I am mostly still in denial so not getting treatment/therapg for it)

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  2. I wouldn’t want to hear it. My competitive nature with other anorexics is just way too high and my judgement, although horrifying to admit, of people with other types of eating disorders is destructive.

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