Disclaimers: A different kind of informed consent

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Part of my job is to see clients in my private practice.  I love my job and take my role and responsibilities very seriously.  

My name is Laura Linebarger Walsh, Psy.D. and I’m a licensed clinical psychologist.  Thanks for being here.

I’d like to ask those that know me in a particular way (i.e. we’ve had some of those intense conversations) to consider some things.  By reading this blog, you may think differently about me and our relationship, past or present. As a clinician, my job is to put myself aside and focus on my client.  In my writing, I get to be (mostly) me. The difference is I’m not putting aside my feelings – in fact, I’m specifically using them as examples. That would be a hindrance in therapy but it’s perfect here.  Don’t get me wrong – I am not harmed by putting my feelings aside in a healthy manner in session. In fact, I find it quite interesting to use my emotions in diverse ways. I love my job but there is more to me.  You should have this final piece of informed consent before going forward.

 

Opinions.

Here, they are all mine.  They are neither good nor bad, just opinions. We’re allowed to agree or respectfully differ.  You may even change my mind with a well-reasoned argument. Consider this – If I say my favorite kind of pizza is plain cheese, does that make pepperoni lovers bad people?  Obviously not. If I end up writing about something that makes you feel strongly and you’d wish to engage with me about the topic, consider the post an invitation. I promise to be respectful and kind but we may have to agree to disagree in some instances.

 

A little about confidentiality and privacy.

As a clinical psychologist, part of my job is to see clients in my private practice.  I am bound by several entities to act in certain ways – HIPAA, the State of Illinois, the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics, and my own ethics and integrity.  From time to time, I may occasionally talk about my work or reference sessions with clients.

 

Writing excerpts.

I am fiercely protective of my clients.  They do such awesome work and it’s my job to keep them safe.  With some individuals, I will occasionally correspond by email in between sessions.  If I ever use quotes from these messages, you can be sure of a few facts: it is only my own writing and not my client’s, I have received enthusiastic permission to use it, it was clinically appropriate of me to even ask, and I have taken great pains to conceal the identity of client so that only that person would ever know it was them.  The work of therapy is often bigger than the two people involved and other people benefit. In a nutshell, that’s my impetus for sharing the excerpts and I hope the words speak to you as well.

 

Professional help.  

Though I am a psychologist no matter where I go for ethical purposes, in this blog, I am a writer with a mental health background.  Whatever you read may be helpful, accurate, and true, but it’s not therapy. If you’ve ever been in therapy, then you know what I mean.  All of that said, by reading my blog or my future book, by writing a comment, or by my response to a comment, we are not forming a therapeutic relationship.  It’s still meaningful but it’s not that.

 

Copyright.

I hope you enjoy and benefit from any and all that I post.  It is all original unless otherwise attributed. It is also all protected by copyright laws.  Please feel free to widely share my words but in doing so, also attribute them to me. Any commercial or use for financial benefit is prohibited without explicit written permission.  A girl’s gotta eat, right?

 

Final words.

Thanks for reading.  It means a lot to my own work.  As more is revealed about the crazy inner working of my beautiful mind, I hope it is helpful to you.  I hope my empathy reaches you. I hope to make you think, possibly rile you up and also settle you down.  I want to make my own struggle and story mean more by sharing the gems I’ve gleaned. Perhaps they will resonate but they may not. More than anything, it gratifies me to empower you.  If you’re growing, that’s enough. And the grand secret is that you’re always growing. So there’s that.

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