Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crossing the line?

As a psychologists we are supposed to be caring and empathic, but yet still remain distant. A formal hand shake at the beginning and at the end of a session or psych testing - that's it.

Today, I had a 34 year old woman starting to cry just at the beginning of my testing as she had just gone through a stressful situation on her way to the hospital. When someone is having a hard time and starts crying I simply can't be the psychologist who "just" sits there and listens and talks. That's not me!

I move my chair closer to the patients', so that I am not sitting on the opposite side any longer, but closer to her, and I usually put a comforting hand on the shoulder of my patient.

Technically this means I am crossing lines, but for it me it means doing what a psychologist is supposed to do in a situation like this - giving comfort!

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