Years ago, I remember taking a good deal of care to keep my personal life separate from my professional work. I felt it was integral to good therapy to maintain a distance from those across the therapy divide. It was, of course, perfectly alright for them to bare their souls, but they were never to know what my life was like – what made me who I was. I struggled sometimes to maintain that distance. Mostly, I succeeded. It is still difficult to share elements of myself with the people who sit next to me in therapy. I constantly wonder what is and what is not appropriate, and what the risks and benefits are of revealing more of my self and my life than is usual in aphasia therapy. Sometimes, events conspire to teach me.
A few weeks ago, I confided to the daughter of a long-known client that my son was in a rough patch, and needed a boost. Her son, his own rough patches a bit further behind him, was in need of work. Tonight, our sons met, and on a soccer field in the brisk dusk. worked together to help each other. Both returned smiling and ruddy cheeked, ready for more.
I am who I am, and while there is no need for all of me to be visible to the clients across my table, there is also no shame in it. In this case, there is a huge benefit to both of us. We will have more to talk about.