|"I was delighted to read your article about retirement and knowing when it’s time to stop working, though saddened that the author chose to remain anonymous" |
|"Age is generally seen to be an advantage for counsellors and psychotherapists, rather than the drawback it is for some professions. But in the absence of guidelines about retirement, how do we judge when the time has come for us to stop? Two practitioners offer their personal reflections"|
The September issue of Therapy Today published an article in which I shared my personal reflections on the many issues surrounding the retirement of counsellors – why, when and how we decide it is time for us to cease working
The September issue of Therapy Today published an article in which I shared my personal reflections on the many issues surrounding the retirement of counsellors – why, when and how we decide it is time for us to cease working. Debbie Collins, in the October issue, states that she was, ‘…saddened that the author chose to remain anonymous – it seemed to emphasise the taboo of talking openly about ageing and retirement.’ This statement raises a related subject. My decision to write anonymously, which I took after careful consideration, had everything to do with the issue of self-disclosure, and nothing whatsoever to do with being shy or reticent about disclosing my age. In my practice I have as clients and supervisees those training to be counsellors, accredited counsellors and supervisors, and because I work from the psychodynamic model, I am clear that it would have been inappropriate to have these clients, many of whom read Therapy Today, identify me as the writer of that article.
This does raise the important area of self-disclosure – how much do clients know about us and the issues we are grappling with in our personal and professional lives? Because I work from home, there is an abundance of information any client who is observant can deduce from entering my home, even though my consulting room is separated from the rest of our house. But to have access to my thinking about the future of my work, my attempts to tease out how long I plan to work and the factors that go into that decision, would be disclosing information that would be inappropriate. It could cause anxiety in clients and supervisees that my retirement might be immanent, as well as give them information about me I would not normally share. Until I have made a firm decision about retirement (which will be only partially to do with age) I would not want them to read my reflections in the journal. Outside work I am totally open about my age, and have never been secretive. I am, in fact, rather proud of still working full time well into my 70s. So my identity and age are not ‘taboo’, but because of my professional role in the world of counselling and supervision, I believe it is important to remain anonymous.
Name STILL withheld