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Secrets in Psychotherapy: Concealment, Disclosure, and Therapeutic Success
Course # - CPSY x552
Loyola Hall Room 160
Credit Hours: 6
· Understand the role of secrecy and secrets in coping and psychotherapy
· Identify the most commonly reported "most burdensome" secrets of clients
· Understand the role of self-concealment processes in help seeking, LGBT issues, self-esteem management, and relationship development
· Identify issues in facilitating safe discussions of secrets and secret keeping in individual, couples, and family therapy
The belief that revealing one's secrets to a trusted confidant is good for the soul and psyche can be found throughout history, from the Confession of Souls to Freud's pursuit of the pathogenic secret. Most therapists have witnessed how a client?s disclosure of troubling personal information can often be a turning point in therapy, a moment demarcating a shift from shame and vulnerability to relief, authenticity, integration, safety, and pride.
Uncovering and revealing areas of experience that have long been hidden is challenging for both client and therapist. Secrets that are most tightly held, such as sexual abuse, rape, self-hatred, family secrets, extramarital affairs, disenfranchised grief, and serious medical conditions, including HIV-status, are painful and often stigmatized experiences. These secrets reflect the core of clients' inner worlds--the places where they feel least loved and lovable, and most alone. In families, secrets can create triangles and cutoffs, can often pass from generation to generation, and can create the symptoms that bring families into our consulting rooms. Navigating this world of secrets, and sensitively helping clients negotiate their conflicts surrounding disclosure, are hallmarks of the effective therapist.
In this one-day seminar we will look at secrets in everyday clinical practice and identify therapeutic techniques and relationship qualities that can bring the dialectic of concealment and disclosure into the center of therapeutic action. Recent work on self-concealment, trauma disclosure, covert processes in therapy, therapist and client disclosure, and end-of-life closure will inform lectures and discussion.
This workshop is designed for marriage and family counselors, psychologists, social workers, health professionals, clergy, and other human service workers.
Dale G. Larson, Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University. A researcher, licensed clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist, Dr. Larson is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Helper's Journey: Working With People Facing Grief, Loss, and Life-Threatening Illness, and his work on self-concealment and health have gained national attention, with more than 100 research studies using his Self-Concealment Scale, and articles in Redbook, First for Women, and Family Circle.