Serious Illness And Other Unanticipated Absences

Both therapists and clients tend to find comforting the myth that the therapist is immortal and invulnerable (Pope, Sonne, & Greene, 2006). Therapists may enjoy the feeling of strength and of being a perfect care-giver that such a fantasy, which sometimes occurs on an unconscious level, provides. Clients may soothe themselves (and avoid confronting some personal issues) with the fantasy that they are being cared for by an omnipotent, immortal parental figure.

Although we have not completed our careful study of every therapist who has ever lived, our preliminary results suggests that there has yet to appear a therapist who is immortal and invulnerable. For all of us who are mortal and vulnerable, it is important to prepare for those unexpected times when we are suddenly unavailable to our clients (see Chapter Six).

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