Oct 26, 2014
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Hi all,

This is something that has been on my mind recently, so I thought I would bring it to the group. Has anyone ever had second thought about cutting/dyeing their hair/changing their appearance (in a professional way, of course) while providing ongoing therapy to clients? I may be overthinking this, but I work with a SMI population, and I tend to think that consistency is therapeutic : i.e. we meet at the same time each week, my office is the same, the pacing to our sessions tend to be the same etc. Does anyone have the same considerations when thinking about their appearance or changing it? I am often tempted to do something like chop off my shoulder length hair and turn it into a platinum blonde pixie cut, or something similar, but hesitate when thinking about my work. Thoughts?
 

A Blue Duck

5+ Year Member
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Apr 17, 2014
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There are probably population specific considerations.

Generally though, I don't see it as a problem as long as everything is kept professional.

Additionally, it may be an illuminating exercise if a slight change in therapist appearance resulted in a rupture or overt client distress.
 
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PsychBoxe

Postdoctoral Fellow
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Nov 17, 2008
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I agree with others. Confronting the reality of change with a trusted other and in the context of change in a trusted other can be very therapeutic. Great question and a great discussion topic.
 

MCParent

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Jan 10, 2012
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Hi all,

This is something that has been on my mind recently, so I thought I would bring it to the group. Has anyone ever had second thought about cutting/dyeing their hair/changing their appearance (in a professional way, of course) while providing ongoing therapy to clients? I may be overthinking this, but I work with a SMI population, and I tend to think that consistency is therapeutic : i.e. we meet at the same time each week, my office is the same, the pacing to our sessions tend to be the same etc. Does anyone have the same considerations when thinking about their appearance or changing it? I am often tempted to do something like chop off my shoulder length hair and turn it into a platinum blonde pixie cut, or something similar, but hesitate when thinking about my work. Thoughts?
This is what Meehl refers to as spun glass theory of mind. ;)

I've known therapists who changed their gender over the course of therapy with patients. I'm sure they can handle a dye job and trim.
 
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Mar 24, 2014
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MC is generally correct, but if you have a particularly unstable psychotic individual that you are seeing or someone with a lot of sexualized transference, you might want to talk about how to address it with your supervisor. The vast majority of patients will just say "you cut your hair" except for the narcissists who won't even notice.