I get a lot of Ask Allison questions about how to navigate seeing your client in public, but I also see a high volume of questions about what to do if you happen to bump into a client online, especially dating apps – the internet’s both a big and small place at the same time so it can happen. If and when it does, how do you handle a client seeing you on a dating app?
First of all, dating apps are how people meet these days. They’re a pretty common part of the dating and social scene these days and they’re only going to get more ubiquitous. Especially if you’re single in the same town or city as most of your clients, this could be something that happens. Yes, this is an awkward situation, but I’m really big on modeling uncomfortable conversations and being willing to talk about the hard things. That doesn’t mean go on and on about your last really bad break up in session. But personally, I would bring it up if you know for sure that your client saw your profile.
I’d probably say something like “We saw each other on (app). I know seeing your therapist on an app where you’re trying to date can feel weird. Is there anything around that you want or need to process?”
It may be validating to your client– they now know you know the ups and downs of online dating first hand.
It may have also opened up a door of thinking of you as a full human being with sexuality and stuff. So be prepared for any of that conversation and the discomfort it can cause. It can be healthy to break down the way some screens and social media can separate us and dehumanize the person on the other end – absolutely have these conversations in a clinically boundaried and ethical way (which I have faith all of y’all know how to do).
The main reason I’d bring it up is because of what NOT bringing it up communicates. That it’s something uncomfortable or shameful for you to acknowledge or that you feel squirmy about them seeing you like that and would rather avoid it.
So this isn’t something we cover in the Abundance Party, but there’s support in our private Facebook group for questions like this and more! If you need help building your practice, you should join us in there at Abundanceparty.com.