Can I really trust a therapist?
Confidentiality and ethics are the core of who we are. We are not your friend; our relationship is a professional one much like the relationship you have with your GP. We are both bound by our chosen ethical framework and law in some cases to protect you, your identity and any information shared with us. It really is hard to believe that a person is capable of keeping your secrets, but I am here to tell you that it is true.
I include myself when I say that of all the Counsellors I know, there is not one that would ever dream of breaking client’s confidentiality. Of course, there are a couple of legal stipulations we have to abide by and rightly so. If there is risk of harm to yourself or others, drug dealing, trafficking humans, planning a terrorist attack, or laundering money, I am legally bound to report you and I would not hesitate to do so however other than that we become human vaults with many tales of sadness, abuse, sacrifice and pain alongside tales of strength and hope.
These tales are sacred to us, they are gifted to us by client’s that were willing to be vulnerable in the admirable effort to process and heal from their experiences, to live life on their terms. To prosper and find happiness.
I can only speak for myself, but I am sure other therapists will agree that I feel genuine admiration for my clients just for making the decision to seek help. Often in dark times it is hard to hold on to any hope of change. I know that anyone that walks into my room still has hope. Even if it is just a tiny glimmer. For me, that is enough.
When therapists are right at the beginning of our training journeys, we have no idea of the depths we will have to go to, to get to that shiny certificate. No idea at all!
No one comes out of Counselling training the same person they went in. We are required to surrender ourselves to the training, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is hard, no two ways about it. Honestly, at times I questioned if I was even capable of lasting the course. The course requirements ask us to attend our own personal therapy throughout the duration of the course. Others may be different, but I had personal therapy for two years. I had a lot of ‘stuff’ I needed to process and understand before I could even contemplate trying to help others do the same.
I surrendered to the whole process, jumped straight in with both feet and gave it everything I had. I processed and continue to process 40 odd years of ‘stuff’. Personal development does not stop when you are qualified.
We had classroom learning, assignments, role plays, case studies, research projects, placement hours, supervision, hours of reading, journaling and then there was normal life. Work, housework, family, blah blah blah! You get the picture. It was a lot.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I was thinking about how I felt when I first went to therapy and how it was the trust issue that I found hard to understand. People had broken my trust in the past, many times. Some more painful than others but deceit not the less.
Why would this Counsellor be any different, why wouldn’t she gossip about me with her mates on a night out? Why wouldn’t she laugh at me when I admitted my mistakes and shameful secrets? So, I am telling you this because I want you to know and believe that your secrets are safe with me.
I gave so much of myself to be where I am today. A proud, ethical, professional Counsellor, that I would never risk losing my career by breaking your trust.
My role is as important to me as the air that I breathe and with that comes commitment to you and to myself. I am trained within an inch of my life to protect our sacred law of confidence. This is my solemn vow to my clients today and always.