In this show we look at how professionals working in mental health relate to their own experiences of distress. Can a worker’s own history of difficulties enrich their practice? Or are other factors more important? Should a worker’s own experiences be taboo when talking to service users, or It is helpful for a professional to be open about things that have happened to them?

The regular panel of John McGowan, Anne Cooke, Angela GilchristRachel Terry is joined by three guests with experience of bridging the divide from service user to professional: clinical psychologist and mental health activist, Rufus May; our own Co-ordinator of Service User and Carer Involvement Laura Lea; and current trainee clinical psychologist Hanne Warren.



Here are some links to things we discussed in the show and to further reading.


A piece from the Guardian by Anne Cooke and psychologist Jay Watts on mental distress among psychological therapists in the NHS.


A short article by Peter Gilbert and Theodore Stickley looking at the idea of ‘wounded healers’ in mental health work.


A piece from The Psychologist magazine on therapist self-disclosure by Anna Ruddle and Sarah Dilks…


… and some reaction



A piece by Laura, from our own blog, arguing for the benefits of professional openness.


A short blog reflecting on the experience of being on ‘both sides of the desk’.


And a recent letter to The Psychologist suggesting the evidence for the benefits of self-disclosure is poor…


…. and some responses (including one from Anne).


“They’ve been there, they know”. A recent clinical psychology doctoral thesis by Elanor Lewis-Holmes considering some views of service users on professional  disclosing elements of their own history.


Rufus in particular recommend three references:

Narratives of Therapists Lives by Michael White as helpful in thinking about a practitioner’s own motivations while maintaining some boundaries.


Myth of the Untroubled Therapist by Marie Adams


 And an article on the presence of Narcissistic injury among trainee counselling psychologists by Halewood and Tribe 



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As well as that you can follow us on Twitter @CCCUApppsy and on Facebook if you search for Canterbury Christ Church University Applied Psychology. You can follow the contributors on Twitter: Angela @cyberwhispers,  Anne @AnneCooke14,  Rachel @rterrypsy, Hanne @HanneConn and John @drjohnmcgowan. You can follow Rufus on Twitter @rufusmay and find out more about his work on his website


Please note The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the contributors employing organisations.


Producer: John McGowan

Assistant Producer: Saul McGowan