421 Unlocking Secrets in Therapy

Evan Imber-Black • Saturday MorninG

Evan Imber-BlackSecrets can be like ghosts haunting a family—a threat that can’t be seen or confronted. That’s why helping clients make decisions about revealing secrets can be tricky. These secrets can bring issues of confidentiality and privacy into therapy. Working with clients around secrets requires an appreciation for the complexities of determining the timing and appropriateness of disclosure.

In this workshop, we’ll:

  • Identify the underlying fears and potential fallout behind a broad range of potential secrets, including the paternity of a child, affairs, physical or substance abuse, and suicide in the family
  • Explore how secrets manifest themselves in therapy, including clues that certain facts are being hidden
  • Distinguish between privacy needs and the result of toxic secrets
  • Learn a multisystemic model of secrecy and openness to help make individualized judgments for how or whether to reveal a family secret

Evan Imber-Black, PhD, is program director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters Program at Mercy College and director of the Center for Families and Health at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She’s authored numerous books, including The Secret Life of Families.


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