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Anonymity, blogging, and getting out of the office

On November 1st

I’m blogging anonymously for now. [UPDATE: Not any more.] I intend to change that when it’s clearer how this thing is shaping up. There’s something I don’t like about the anonymous voice. I think if you want to participate in public discourse, it’s more honest to say who you are. Otherwise you’re just a cultural sniper, taking shots from the safety of your cozy hiding place. I realize that there are people who have legitimate needs to protect their anonymity.

My reason for anonymity-for-now is that I need to become comfortable with the eventuality that the people who see me for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy will find this blog. I like to be thoughtful about these things. There is no way around it: If you are my patient, and you read this blog, it will do something to your experience of treatment. The “something” might be trivially small, or it might be disruptive.

I’m of the (old) school that say that all things being equal, it’s better to have a treatment relationship that’s uncluttered by extraneous contact and extra information. This is why, if you come see me in my office, you won’t see photos of family, pets, vacations, etc. That’s why I don’t have stickers on my car that advertise my political or cultural affiliations.

There is another point of view that says this is no use, because if you come to my office, you will learn a great deal about me. I’m a certain gender, size, shape, color, and age. My office shows something about my taste and personality. I think and speak in a certain way, and so forth. But I think of it as being gently muted or reserved about myself out of respect to my patients. If you come to see me, we will be concerning ourselves with you, not me. I try to stay out of the way. This approach is hard for therapists who find themselves endlessly fascinating.

This is how I conduct myself in my clinical practice. But I haven’t taken an oath of invisibility. I wish to get out of the office and connect with the world in a different way. I’ve learned a lot about human nature, and I’m looking to apply what I know through public speaking, writing, and consulting.

This will eventually become known to my patients. But I’d like to work this out thoughtfully, rather than willy-nilly.

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