Self-expression in professional settings. | INFJ Forum

Self-expression in professional settings.

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Not2bforgot10, Feb 6, 2009.

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  1. Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    I'm writing to see what people think of self-expression in professional settings; in particular, the psychotherapy setting.

    I was in class the other day and we were talking about ethics, etc, and some of the students argued that psychotherapists should not have piercings, tattoos, etc.

    I, personally, have pigtails, which I actually think are very cute and they're "me" and I was discouraged by some of the students to wear these.

    I realize that if I have pig tails I may not be taken seriously by some people, but to be honest, I don't care--in the sense that it will not stop me from wearing pig tails. The pig tails are "me;" they're part of what makes me unique, and I will not change that for anyone! I want people to start looking beyond outer appearances and the only way I'm going to do that or make any social change in people's eyes is by starting with myself! If I'm going to be the example then I'm going to stick to it.

    I think that when people change their style they are giving into society's judgmentalness and stereotypes. I think they are letting society get the "best" of them. Why should we have to compromise our individuality? Why not all be authentic in expression? If we all continued to change our appearances/who we are, then we will never really know one another on any real, personal, intimate level.
    I am curious as to hear people's take on this.

    So the question... Should psychotherapists be allowed to exhibit themselves (fashion-wise) however they want?

    (I'm going to dig deep here); I'd like to get to the real core of this. Please, especially INTJ's and those who have difficulty with allowing themselves to be vulnerable, share your vulnerable, beautiful experiences... open your hearts for a second and just let out what's inside.

    Thank you.
     
  2. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I think it depends on who you're reaching. If you're reaching kids/teens, go for pigtails! If you're trying to connect with adults...not so much. Because it's not about your personal expression; it's about your patient's well-being. And if they can't trust you because they think you act too young or whatever, you might need to adjust how you reach them.
     
  3. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    Disclaimer: this may be somewhat of a rant

    I keep wavering between yes and no on this.

    My entire life, I've been excellent at being who I (for reasons I don't understand) - who I thought I 'should' be. It didn't actually work well for me, but I gave off quite a conservative impression. I guess I played to the "shouldness" of life. And on some level, I understand that.

    But at the same time, wouldn't it be nice if people finally got beyond this? Why not just be who we are respectufully, and have people deal with that? Rather than try to cater to a level of facade? Maybe the problem isn't what we wear or how we dress, but the level to which we are judged. I mean, seriously. What's wrong with pig-tails? While it's always important to take into consideration who you're dealing with, because your appearance will have an effect on someone else, maybe it's also the responsibility of that person to question why they're feeling thrown off, what their beliefs and feelings are, and if they are actually reasonable. And by reasonable - I don't mean invalid, I just mean.. sometimes, we hold beliefs we may not actually value or appreciate, and we don't always realize that until we examine them and then may decide to keep them or release them. Or maybe that just happens for me. I don't know.

    I'm fed up catering to people's expectations!!! ... pardon me, I feel like I'm totally ranting here :rant:

    My obgyn had a brow ring the last time I saw her. And although that's completely NOT my style, I LOVED it. Simply because I have never seen a professional - especially in that sort of "social calibre", wear a piercing! I LOVED that she was able to wear it, felt comfortable to wear it, and was expressing herself personally. It didn't affect the service she was providing me with, she was still the same doctor. And even if that had been the first time I was meeting her, it would still have been my responsiblity to look beyond whatever judgment I hold based on that first impression and figure out how I truly feel about her based on our interaction and her professionalism/service.

    Now I'm thinking about my counsellor that I had. She was wonderful. But I wonder, if she had a style, one that I perhaps wouldn't feel at home with, would that create an emotional barrier for me? Because I felt I couldn't understand that and therefore connect in the way I naturally do? That happens with people all the time for me. I hate to say it. Even if I like the person, sometimes I don't like something about them - even something like dress, style, etc. - and that gets in the way. But it only bothers me because of the connection thing. I guess because I associate things on an emotional level and once that happens, my emotions are involved. Still, it bothers me that relatively insignificant and minor things about people can throw me off or bother me.

    Okay but what do you think - does it seem that sometimes in our society, we judge so quickly and so easily, and far too complacently? I like that we're customer service oriented, and try to cater our service - but is it a bit much sometimes?
     
    #3 Soulful, Feb 6, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  4. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    Perfectly expressed. This was my thought too. Pig tails might put children at ease, but make older clients uncomfortable.

    If you intend to pursue a profession in service to others, I think it is a reasonable expectation to consider their comfort and confidence with you when presenting yourself to them. It's an empathy thing.

    In this economy, with the ever-increasing scarcity of jobs, if you maintain a "It's my way or the highway" attitude, you should prepare yourself to be passed over in favor of those who may be more flexible or considered "suitable" by those who would employ them.

    If outwardly visible evidence of your self-image is of non-negotiable importance to you, there are other professions to consider. Alternatively, you could reach a compromise within yourself to present a professional appearance during business hours, and cut loose however you see fit in your free time.
     
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  5. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    Exactly! You talk about the service of your OB not changing... and that is so true. It's like people can't get past the judgments! And I am not judging people, either, by saying this ;) Really though... we get so stuck on superficial things (outer appearances) that we can't get to the things that really *matter* (the service performed). Of course you're not going to enjoy your service and you're going to complain about it if your experience was defined by negativity resulting from judgment! I think judgment mixes a lot of things up... and in many ways, we are responsible for our judgment. That's why I, personally, believe in challenging our own assumptions (like you had mentioned, Love-- Thank you). I believe in questioning our beliefs and the things we were raised with and taught because they're not always right.

    I went through this questioning process about 2 years ago when I moved away from home for the first time... my therapist says I'm "individuating." Anyway, whatever it is aside from the "label," I AM growing, and I am proud. I am happy. It feels GOOD to question things and find out what's really true and what fits for "me," not for anyone else.

    All of my life I've been conforming to other people's expectations... I grew up in a very dysfunctional family, who on the surface, you'd NEVER guess, but neverthless, it was crazy inside! I'm finally feeling and knowing what it's like to be "me."

    Love, it sounds like you're willing to recognize all these things and your own biases, and like me, you long to connect-- that's great. It feels good to know that we relate to one another. Thank you for sharing your experience.
     
  6. TK*

    TK* Community Member

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    Psychology is all about perception. If you're going to be in the field you're going to want to put out the best "socially-accepted perception" of yourself out there. So yeah, I don't advise sporting the nose ring and pigtails if you're going to be a psychotherapist for serious adults! They're paying you money, so technically, they are your customer. And the customer is always right.

    I agree about individuality...but in the professional world, especially if you want to be successful, you've got to learn a little BS to play the part.
     
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  7. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    I respect the right for everyone to have their own opinion, and so I respect your opinion; however, I personally, disagree with it. I have "played" the 'part' for much too long. All of my life I've played the whole, "Lets 'conform' thing" and be a 'certain' way in order to 'please' and so forth... I'm tired of it. I'm tired of meeting everyone else's needs and having little to no room for myself. I wasn't taught to have needs growing up; in fact, the needs that I did have were deemed "selfish" by my "selfless," martyr-like mother. I have a right to have needs and to express myself and be an individual. I was picked on all through out growing up for not being like everyone "else," and quite frankly, I'm comfortable (more than I ever was) with myself now.

    I think that if change starts with us and we're trying to set the example for others then we need to be ourselves, flaws, warts, and all.
     
    #7 Not2bforgot10, Feb 6, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  8. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    While your train of thought is quite idealistic and no doubt born out of your own frustrations, it is fully and completely flawed. People are not typically understanding of many things. People do not normally have the capacity to see beyond the concrete, as you so desperately would like.

    Therein lies the problem. The only solution being; play the role of the professional or create extra hardships for yourself.

    The choice is yours.
     
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  9. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    Personally I wouldn't go to a psychotherapist who was pierced and tattooed. It would be much too distracting for me and I know I'd be tempted to psychoanalyse he or she instead of concentrating on my own mental health.
     
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  10. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    You definitely seem like an INTJ to me. I don't mean that judgmentally, either, but I would re-examine your mbti type. INFJ does NOT seem valid. Very much INTJ.
     
  11. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    Hmm, well, you would clearly choose to analyze her. I mean, because if you're there for you, you can in fact focus on yourself, or of course you could use her as a distraction. You would be getting hung up on the outward appearance (your choice); reason-being, likely b/c your subconscious is not ready to heal. The ego seeks distractions.
     
  12. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    This kind of stuff bothers me. Mostly because people care about this kind of stuff.

    I don't understand why people dress up for interviews, and such. The concept of an interview bothers me. People make themseleves look good, and do not act like themselves. People should just be who they are, and not have to follow these "codes of conduct". *grumbles*...

    I am not going to lie, I do make judgements about people's appearences. However, this mostly what I see in them, not so much on what they wear. It honestly annoys me to no end when people judge people because they have a piercing or something to that effect.

    If I went to a psycotheripist and they had peircings and tatoos, I would be aprehensive at first, but that is not what I base my judgements on. I would be open to the idea of going to see them.

    I am who I am, whereever I am. I olny supress who I am when I am in a new situation. Under no circumstances do I pretend to be someone else...
     
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  13. KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    for me there is always some tension between how i want to appear and look in my professional world and what i need to do to fit in. i work in a very status-oriented profession, and part of that means looking a certain way. my choice has just been to accept it.

    it's also a financial decision. if you have the means to pick and choose your clients and don't need (financially) to sell yourself to a wide demographic, i think you have more liberty to do what you want. money brings freedom, to a certain extent. on the other hand, if you have less financial freedom, oftentimes that means making compromises to attract more clients or toe the party line.
     
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  14. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    I completely understand everyone's frustration with the stresses put on personal appearance (I've been through it myself), but seriously. Unemployment rates are climbing by the day, and they're already worse than they have been for most of our lifetimes.

    Personally, I'd rather swallow my individualistic pride (for the number of hours per day it takes to do my job or the time it takes to interview) if it means being able to pay the rent, utilities, put gas in my car, eat, etc. The competition out there is fierce, and how professional (or not) your appearance is may very well be the deciding factor between you and an equally qualified competitor.

    Look at the numbers... and this is just the people claiming unemployment for losing their jobs... not those who haven't been able to get one in the first place.
     
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  15. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    Haha, I live with an INTJ. I do behave more T-ish on forums, but only because I have a lot of experience trying to reason with psychos. My guard is up when I get into debate mode :)


    Also, what ZenCat said. Yep.
     
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    #15 Wyote, Feb 7, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  16. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    I thought the same exact thing. Exact.
     
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  17. Grey Wolf

    Grey Wolf Airborne all the way!

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    hmm I'd follow my lecturer's advise on presenting ( seems valid here also )

    "focus on not on what you want to present, but what your audience wants to be presented with."

    in my case, it meant that I should put myself in the shoes of the audience and think of how they would view the presentation that w are putting up. In your case, I think that we should think of the patients and how they would view the psychotherapist. That because ultimately, the psychotherapists are there to provide a service.
     
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  18. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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  19. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    So if I have it correctly, it appears that LOVE and INDIGO share the similar view as myself that we should basically be ourselves at all costs. Is this correct?
     
  20. Vagrant

    Vagrant Regular Poster

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    I said it on INTJf, I'll say it here:

    What you want is to be able to dress however you like to represent yourself.

    However, what you are presenting is an image -- if that image of yourself deters others, it doesn't help you at all -- so while I agree that it is quite stupid that you can't express yourself fully, it is in your best interests to "dress for the task."
     
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