8 Pages

Sharing at the Exit

WithBernard Frankel, Brenda L. Smith

Dear Consultant: In an unusual coincidence of timing, my coed psychodynamic group is ending after 3 years. All the patients are in their mid-thirties and five of the six members are moving to other states because they have just graduated or are getting married to someone who has taken a job elsewhere. During my work with them, I have revealed few details of my personal life. Because my office is located outside my home, my patients do not know where I live, what church I attend, or whether I have children. The issue of whether I have children has become particularly salient because one of the group members just had a baby. In the past, I have asked for fantasies from the group members, which have ranged from yes, I have one special needs child to I’m infertile to I hate children and lead a romantic and adventurous life with a handsome husband. As our termination ends, the group members have become more curious about my life. When they ask questions, we have long discussions about what it would mean to them to know.