What does "therapist and client relationship" mean? And is there a short description for it or synonym?

B:‘’My mother mentioned you, often.’’

A: ‘’Strange, she never mentioned you to me.’’

B: ‘’You asked no questions of her?’’

A: ‘’Not really. She has always been warm and inviting with me. Always attentive to my needs. But, she always held herself rather… how should I put it? Secretly… yes, I always felt that she wanted to keep herself private.’’

B: "Sounds like a therapist and client relationship."

  • I'm not sure this makes any sense. In a therapist/client relationship, the client tells the therapist everything. Feb 16, 2021 at 15:26
  • A relationship between A and B. Where's the problem?
    – Lambie
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:30
  • Yes that's right. Does it mean that because the therapist doesn't do the same as the client?
    – Aseel
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:30
  • A is talking about B's mother.
    – Aseel
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:31
  • 2
    @FeliniusRex: I think B is describing the relationship as it relates to the therapist (the therapist is supposed to avoid being too "open" herself, since anything she thinks or feels is just unwanted "noise" in the context of a therapy session). Feb 16, 2021 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


Person B is referring to the concept of client confidentiality.

Confidential: marked by intimacy or willingness to confide

Because therapy involves discussing sensitive matters, therapists must be able to convince their clients to share information that the client may consider private.

This is made easier by the therapist's persona which is often warm, understanding, and non-judgmental. Additionally, the client knows that a therapist has a duty to not disclose information about their clients.

This exchange of information is one-sided, however. The therapist does not usually share their private thoughts with their client.

Like a therapist would be to their client, person B's mother was warm and inviting to person A and was always willing to discuss what was on person A's mind. She was attentive to person A's needs.

Also like a therapist, person B's mother did not share many details about herself with person A. There was an imbalance of information in the relationship that led to person A not knowing about person B despite person A being close to person B's mother.

Person B notes this dynamic and correctly compares it to the relationship between a therapist and their client.

Generally, you could say that person B's mother was a confidant for Person A. She was someone that person A trusted with private information, but Person A did not necessarily receive the same trust in return.

  • But in the context it doesn't make sense i think, because A shares everything with the woman but on the other hand the woman is somehow private and closed and doesn't share to A.
    – Aseel
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:36
  • You may need to add more context, then, because no part of what Person A says indicates that Person A is sharing with the woman. Person A may be lamenting a one-sided emotion in their relationship, but that is not clear from the dialog you have posted.
    – D M
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:37
  • I added more context now
    – Aseel
    Feb 16, 2021 at 15:49
  • 1
    I modified my answer. The original interpretation is the same, but the roles of person A and the mother have been switched because of the additional context you added.
    – D M
    Feb 16, 2021 at 16:16

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