therapist seemed pre-occupied

therapist seemed pre-occupied

Discussion Question 2

Please respond to this case example by stating what ethical guidelines the therapist violated and ways that it may cause harm to the client.  Also state what the therapist should have done differently in this situation to protect her client(s).

*A client had been seeing her therapist 2 times a week for many months to address ongoing problems with severe depression and anxiety.   The client began to notice that the therapist seemed preoccupied and “not herself” on certain days.

The client checked in with the therapist, sharing these observations and expressing concern.   The therapist admitted that she was experiencing marital distress and felt overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, and sadness.   The client expressed a desire to help her therapist through these difficulties so that she could feel herself again.  She wanted to extend the same kindness and support to her therapist that had been extended to her.

The therapist stated that usually, the therapy relationship can only go in “one direction”, but noted that it may be helpful to allow her client to support her as her client tends to avoid emotional intimacy in most areas of her life.  The therapist noted that it may be a growth step for her client and she began to allow her client to offer her emotional support.

The therapist began to extend the sessions and devoted a portion of each session to sharing more and more of her own interpersonal problems and emotional problems with the client.

The therapist felt supported and the client felt closer to her therapist and felt she was making good progress with developing emotional intimacy with others.   It seemed like a win-win.