Disclosing personal trauma to supervisor

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Blair
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Disclosing personal trauma to supervisor

Post by Blair » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:20 am

Hi all,

I'm an AP in a service where I am doing therapy with clients with a variety of presentations who have a experienced a wide range of personal difficulties (like almost everybody else in this forum!).

As the title suggestd, I experienced repeated sexual abuse when I was child. I have had therapy and have come to terms with everything, and in my estimation I've come through the experiences as horrifying as they were, and it doesn't effect my day to day life in a meaningful way.

However, sometimes during therapy with clients they will disclose or recount experiences of sexual abuse (sometimes very similar to my own). I'm compassionate and try to support them through it, but I do find myself sometimes freezing internally and I'm concerned it could be affecting my practice as well as the progress of my clients. Nobody has ever said this to me, but I just want to ensure that the client is not being affected by my own issues.

I've done some reflecting and I don't think I am triggered per se, as such disclosures particularly within the client group that I work with (children) would be distressing to anyone I'd imagine. But I want to be sure that I'm not transferring in the way that conduct interventions with them.

Is it appropriate to share with my supervisor? Thanks :)

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Geishawife
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Re: Disclosing personal trauma to supervisor

Post by Geishawife » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:34 pm

If you are confident about your relationship with your supervisor I think it is entirely appropriate to share this information. You are under no obligation to do so, but if there IS a possibility this could affect your practice (not saying it will!)then you need to be able to identify this and explore the effect in a contained setting. It demonstrates maturity on your part that you are aware of potential issues and I would hope your supervisor would deal with the issue in a sympathetic and supportive manner.

Some years back, I had an AP reveal a past history of issues they had tried to keep hidden for fear of repercussions. In reality, it was the effort involved in trying to hide the issues that started to affect this AP and "coming clean" meant we could approach things properly. Said AP got onto training and is doing very well as a qualified CP. So I would suggest honesty is generally a better policicy.

Just one more word of advice - only reveal what you feel comfortable with. You are under no obligation to "tell all", just as much as you feel is appropriate and relevant. Good luck with your career.

Blair
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:34 pm

Re: Disclosing personal trauma to supervisor

Post by Blair » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:07 am

Geishawife wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:34 pm
If you are confident about your relationship with your supervisor I think it is entirely appropriate to share this information. You are under no obligation to do so, but if there IS a possibility this could affect your practice (not saying it will!)then you need to be able to identify this and explore the effect in a contained setting. It demonstrates maturity on your part that you are aware of potential issues and I would hope your supervisor would deal with the issue in a sympathetic and supportive manner.

Some years back, I had an AP reveal a past history of issues they had tried to keep hidden for fear of repercussions. In reality, it was the effort involved in trying to hide the issues that started to affect this AP and "coming clean" meant we could approach things properly. Said AP got onto training and is doing very well as a qualified CP. So I would suggest honesty is generally a better policicy.

Just one more word of advice - only reveal what you feel comfortable with. You are under no obligation to "tell all", just as much as you feel is appropriate and relevant. Good luck with your career.
Thank you for responding 🙂. It's helpful to know that you've had a similar experience with an AP in your service.

My supervisor is very empathetic, so I'm hopeful that they will not negatively judge me for my experience. With that being said, a big concern I have is that they may view me as unstable or assume that I am seeking therapy from them in some way which I am not... Hopefully I am able to make that clear when I make the disclosure.

I think I also had some anxiety about revealing the details of what I experienced, which is likely what prompted me to post here. Reading your advice that I do not have to 'tell all' has eased that considerably so thank you.

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miriam
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Re: Disclosing personal trauma to supervisor

Post by miriam » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:45 am

You sound like you've been very thoughtful about it, and if I was supervising someone who conveyed verbally what you've written in the top post I'd be impressed at your ability to reflect on the personal professional interface and pleased you trusted me enough to share this information. I'd hope we could have a productive discussion and be thoughtful about how we could be supportive as employers. So, yes, I'd see it as completely appropriate to share in supervision if you felt comfortable to do so.
Miriam

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