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1A) Strategies to initiate/facilitate discussion about self-disclosure
Starting the discussion in a separate training could help increase the safety level on staff – for anyone struggling with the issue may not feel singled out. People can know in advance the format/expectations of this discussion and already be thinking about their feelings/thoughts on the issue. I think structure around ethics is helpful to increase the safety in the room as well as make sure everyone’s voice is heard.
We’d start with maybe poster paper on 4 walls and get mixed groups(MH/SA) rotating through a brainstorm on each. Possible topics are types of disclosures that help increase the therapeutic relationship, types of disclosures that could potentially harm the relationship, “grey areas in ethics” regarding self-disclosure, possible reasons for self-disclosure, etc. I think discussion will come from these that could be very rich due to the diversity of staff and hopefully that would be validated by myself and others in the group. It would also be important to pull our discussion together by what we agree on as counseling professionals, hence our “co-occurring” work as well as valuing individual differences in the group.
1B) Supervision role and style
Most of my supervision roles come from my learnings about the Discrimination Model (Bernard and Goodyear) and also my more recent training in Gestalt facilitation. I feel comfortable in being a facilitator of their learning, being at times a consultant and in the teacher role. I feel that if the group was unclear about boundary violations, it is my role to be clear about them, what to do if a supervisee feels they want to disclose and what to do if a disclosure is made that may harm the therapeutic relationship. This would be consistent with my role as their team and individual supervisor. I would be hopeful that myself and the agency administrators would have already been working to promote an atmosphere where we are safe to explore ethical ideas AND be clear about what would be our administrative roles as well.
2) Helpful strategies from class
I think being reminded about the difference of transparency and self-disclosure has been very helpful to me. In the past, I have spent a lot of time on informed consent, but I now feel that I have gotten away from the amount of time spent on discussing the nature of the therapeutic relationship – just due to lack of time, requirements of the intake session, etc. This class and the responses have helped me remember how much I value the importance of informed consent – thank you!
Taking time to normalize transference and countertransference is another reminder I have gotten from this class. Sometimes I tend to normalize these issues for my clients, my colleagues and my supervisees – and then forget to give myself that same validation. I skip over it by going directly to “what am I doing for self-care?” instead of spending my own reflection time increasing my awareness of self.
Having a decision-making model is sooooo helpful for me – another great reminder in this world where we are making quick decisions with back to back clients dealing with complex issues. My daily intention of increasing awareness of using all of these strategies, including looking at the decision-making model I put on my cabinet – will be helpful for me as a counselor, a supervisor and as just a colleague who is working on being a better helper.
Thank you, class and Pat, for all for your responses – I learned a lot from you☺