This was the headline in The New York Times on June 23, 2011 when Marsha M. Linehan, famous as the creator of a treatment used worldwide for severely suicidal people, disclosed her own history of mental illness.
Why did she tell something so personal?
Dr. Linehan explains: “So many people have begged me to come forward, and I just thought – well, I have to do this. I owe it to them. I cannot die a coward.” Read more
Recently I’ve been putting this question out to many different groups.
A lot of good ideas have come back. Some pieces of advice stand out:
– maintain a state of calmness. Try not to react with shock or upset. The person disclosing needs to be free to attend to her own emotional response and not be distracted by yours. The person shouldn’t have to look after you and your response to her disclosure.
– A calm, accepting presence is needed here. Ideally, your attitude will show that you’re able to hear what the person has to say. Read more