Should an analyst share personal information with clients? Freud believed that the analyst should be devoid of personal presence, so he sat unseen behind his famous couch. Jung realized that regardless of theory, psychotherapy entailed two people in a room interacting.
He likened two personalities to chemical substances: as they combined both would be altered. Jung and his patients interacted face to face, for Jung welcomed the complexities of human relationship. Relational dynamics are the bedrock of the therapeutic process; we invite them into the consulting room.
Vulnerabilities, friendliness, power dynamics, humor, and shadow’s many manifestations appear in body language, facial expression, and feeling tone as well as language. Humans are wired to read one another, so disclosure is inevitable. The crucial concern for the therapist is that disclosures serve authentic relationship, including the deconstruction of isolation and shame when we as therapists are seen in our humanity.
“It’s the middle of the night and pitch black outside. I am in a car with my therapist; she is driving slowly and talking to me. I listen and reply in a quiet voice with a rather trivial statement; I also use pretentious wording like ‘sine qua non’, which is not like me. She nods in agreement. I move closer but she raises her eyebrows and I pull back to my seat, concerned that I might have seemed inappropriate. We start hearing a man in the distance, singing a beautiful operatic aria. His voice is mesmerising and sad. All of a sudden, I and my therapist are in the back seats and I cannot see who is driving the car. The voice is getting louder and I get more scared by the minute. The man is now forcing the front door opposite the driving seat, and has attached to the car. I am aware he is breaking in and I am terrorised. I wake up with my heart beating and check on my husband who is sleeping, then go listen at my son’s door. By this point, my consciousness has fully returned and I know it was just a dream. I have a certain name in mind, a man I knew briefly but who was important in my life, but I am wise enough to realise the man could also be a part of myself.”