Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nondisclosure is the best policy

My agency forbids personal disclosure. Officially. In point of fact, we disclose bits and pieces about ourselves when we consider it therapeutic. But whatever you say to a client can and will be used against you at some point.

Today one of my clients admired my manicure while I was trying to get him to focus on discharge planning. He cycled between pretending to flirt with me -- it's his way of trying to even the inherent power imbalance between therapist and client -- and venting his anger at a co-worker, whom he had basically decided to avoid rather than assault, a decision I wanted to reinforce.

"Do you get mani-pedis every week with your girlfriends at the spa?" he asked. I laughed.

"Actually, I did my nails myself," I said. Which was true. I had recently gotten a pedicure, which I can't do myself comfortably, but I'm pretty competent with my fingernails.

"Maybe you could do mine," he said seductively.

"Not gonna happen," I said. "We don't touch our clients. Ever. Once a client, always a client, and I can't date you, be your friend, or give you a manicure."

That probably wasn't best practice. I should have just said "no" when he formulated his little spa fantasy. But it was late in the day and I was tired.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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