Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Self Disclosure to Clients

I had a brief back and forth discussion with AntiSWer about social workers disclosing their age and marital status to their clients. I don’t think it’s wrong to do this, but for some reason I thought that it was common policy that social workers/case managers not reveal this. Which I base on my one current job as a case manager. I'm curious as to how other social workers deal with this. For me it’s also partially a gender thing. Meaning I would feel more comfortable talking about my marital status/age with a female client. Sharing personal information about whether I’m married or not with a male client may develop into a discussion so I'd rather cut the possibility off at the start. But though I don’t share those details I do talk about where I’m from, where I grew up, my family, etc.

On the same topic of disclosure, over the past couple of days I was going through a rough time (non work related reasons) but I decided to go to work because I couldn’t stay at home with my thoughts. I met with one of my clients and I suppose I was a bit scattered because she said to me "What's wrong with you?" Evidently my attempts at pulling a calm demeanor weren't successful. Though on the other hand, she’s usually direct and brass with staff and likes to constantly test her boundaries and my patience. While we were at my office and she asked me again that it looked like something was on my mind and for an instant a part of me wanted to tell her what was going on. Not to make her feel bad that she was giving me a hard time, but to make a connection. Like see, I'm human, things happen to me too, I'm not just a blank page. But of course I held back. Oh the censorship that goes on so we keep it a professional relationship. Anyway, the sharing of woes is for family, friends and a few coworkers, not clients. Another client was telling me the other day that she stopped seeing her therapist because she started to talk with her about her marital problems. That's why therapists need to see other therapists! Constantly keeping that facade regardless of how you're feeling though, that's tough. Especially because we invite our clients to share how they're feeling with us all the time.

No comments: