In response to my recent post about The Self-Serving Lie, I had a very interesting email exchange with a site visitor. An intelligent and thoughtful woman, a strong believer in the value of psychotherapy, she felt that by writing such a post, I was behaving in an unprofessional manner. She felt such personal disclosures devalued the profession and debased my own standards. I’m curious about what other readers might think.
As a response to that exchange, I wrote my most recent post on The Evacuation of Pain — definitely more “professional” in the sense that I focused on certain psychological dynamics I’ve encountered in my practice with minimal reference to my “outside” experience. What I find interesting is how many more reader Comments I received in response to the more personal post. Also to the earlier one on Belonging.
Here is my opinion, and feel free to contradict me. When I write a post like the one about pain, I come much more from the place of professional authority; readers can acknowledge that they have experienced something similar and they can relate their own stories. But posts like the one about self-serving lies or the need to belong leave readers greater room to participate, to join me on a more equal footing, and even to offer me advice. Almost everyone has dealt with self-serving liars. Everyone needs to belong. I find that type of post and reader interaction much more satisfying. In fact, all those responses to my post on belonging actually gave me a feeling of community, even if it is a virtual one.
I suppose I’ll continue with a variety of different post styles, but I’d welcome your feedback. Which type of post do you prefer? Do you think it “unprofessional” to write from a more personal perspective rather than as a therapist offering insight? Please chime in!