I’m a firm believer in the power of love and compassion to open doors, change minds, and renew hearts. I have always worked with clients who have severe trauma histories, have been abused or neglected, and suffer from severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder with psychotic features and psychosis. The population of client’s I see are children and adolescents including families. This population often starves for love and compassion from almost anyone they come across in daily life. Why? Because society, including the field of psychotherapy, help perpetuate the idea that love and compassion are only for those people we know on a personal level and should be reserved for special moments. For example, we don’t have to worry that our love and compassion toward uncle Mit will ever come back to bite us in a lawsuit claiming sexual harassment. But with a client who, tends to be very emotionally needy, this reality is often on the mind of most therapists. It is important to emphasize that not all clients should be touched and not all therapists should become vulnerable with their clients. But it is also true that not all therapists should become cold, stoic “healers” for fear of lawsuits. This article will examine this very controversial problem still holding many therapists captive today.
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