Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for February 23rd, 2010

Blogging As A Therapeutic Tool

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 23, 2010

I propose that blogging about psychotherapy is a useful therapeutic tool. It is useful both in the benefits it brings to my office practice, and it is useful in telling the public about the process of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Today, I want to focus on the utility of blogging to enhance the practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy.  Surprisingly, my blog has changed the nature of my practice. In previous blogs, http://shirahvollmermd.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/confidentiality/, http://shirahvollmermd.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/retired-from-psychology-today-how-am-i-doing/ and http://shirahvollmermd.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/my-audience/, I have written extensively on my deep concerns that my blog could cause harm. Indeed, I continue to be mindful of the ill-effects of this exercise. At the same time, I have also discovered that my blog has deepened my relationships with my patients. The discipline of blogging, almost daily, has forced me to look at my work in a way that I have never done before. That is, I give myself the opportunity to take one particularly moving moment in my day and reflect on my reaction, my patient’s reaction and our interaction around that moment. When that patient returns I feel more connected. If the patient has read my blog, he does too. Whether we agree or disagree on my take of our interaction, the blog becomes a stimulus for discussion. Some might see it as an intrusion  into the therapeutic process, but I have not found that to be the case. Rather, I have found that my blog has announced to my therapeutic community that I think about my patients when they are not in my presence. I thought this was obvious, and it may have been, but my blog has put my head space in the foreground. Even if a patient does not recognize himself in my blog, that I am thinking about a “patient” reminds my real patients that my head tilts towards thinking about them when they are not sitting in front of me. I used to think that patients should figure this out based on my responses to their struggles. Now, I think that since the psychotherapeutic relationship is challenging in that it is both a professional relationship and a personal relationship at the same time,  my writing reinforces the personal aspects  in a way that is surprisingly meaningful to the people I see. To put it another way, the internet, an impersonal tool, has created an avenue to make psychotherapy a more personal process. Blogging is a new frontier for psychotherapy.

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