Having the fortunate opportunity to be at one of the nicest clinical blocks at a fourth year level, I was able to expand, encounter and experience a different setting to what I was previously exposed to. Being at this specific institution I was able to see the same patients over the entire duration of my clinical block experience, something which I was previously unable to do. As I was able to see these patients over a certain period, it was inevitable I’d develop some sort of functional relationship with them, to which I found myself becoming very fond of the individuals I begun befriending. Being with the individuals for a certain amount of time, I was able to get some insight into what it was like living with sort some of disability, whether it be HIV or a spinal cord injury. This was something I had not experienced before, as I’ve never had the leisure of seeing a patient long enough to establish a “friend foundation”.
As days turned into weeks, what soon changed from my patients to my friends, had me quite chuffed as I couldn’t really establish a boundary as to why I’m not allowed to be someone’s friend. Surely it’s not a crime? No it’s not, though as I went on and ventured into this unknown world of therapist-patient friendship I began noticing a few situations which made me realize that maybe it’s not such a good idea. Patient-therapist relationships is something that every single therapist gets into, though as I’ve written about his before, I‘ve managed to experience a different side of relationships this time round.
One could argue that by not developing a functional friendly relationship with the patient could be in order to focus on the client’s problems exclusively, though how can trust develop in such a one-sided relationship? (Holmes, 2014). As I went about my daily routines, I couldn’t help but to find myself in situations whereby I’m surrounded by patients, fondly laughing, joking with one another and spreading good vibes. Once we got familiar with one another, we shared stories, laughs as we venture through this unorthodox road of duel therapist-patient relationships. As it may seem, one does not coherently realize that this was the situation at the time, as in this specific work environment, there was always a atmosphere of happiness in the air, mainly due to the type of individuals that were being seen to, as majority of them were newly admitted to the rehabilitation center because of a recent injury with the hope of recovering or improving function. What later occurred to me, when with these individuals was how they spoke to one another about their progress, shortfalls and challenges they went through during their stay. As most of them enjoyed and in good-spirit asked me how their friends were doing, was I obliged to tell them that they weren’t as functional as I thought out to be? Or worse, would I lie to these individuals who I recently befriended, laughed with, shared stories and experiences with?
As the article states that most therapists, recognize that they are always revealing aspects of themselves, and that a goal of the therapist is not to hide their personality, but to foster the kind of relationship that allows for the fullest discussion and exploration of all the reactions that take place between the therapist and patient (Holmes, 2014) This I believe, is something that I have done all to often, as I believe that having a relatable experience with someone is a small step in the right direction when establishing ant kind of relationship, it’s what makes us human. However where was I to draw the line? I know it was all meant in good spirit though as a professional, I know I’m not allowed to disclose any kind of patient information without consent, even if it’s in a spur of the moment, good atmosphere environment. As I watched my friends joke about one another about their challenges I know that I stood there with an arsenal of great puns, jokes and one-liners, though sharing any of this means I’d be breaking a boundary that I knew wasn’t to be broken. I suppose this is what would be one of a few cons to being a therapist.
I found another interesting article titled Should I Be “Friends” with My Patients on Social Networking Web Sites?” Though not in the same light, the context remains the same of patient-therapist relationships, especially in our advancing technologically generation:
Holmes, L. (2014, May 16). Why Your Therapist is Not Your Friend. Retrieved from http://mentalhealth.about.com: http://mentalhealth.about.com/cs/psychotherapy/a/dualrelshps.htm