Secrecy vs. Privacy: What’s the Difference?

Most of us agree that privacy is important and valuable whereas secrecy can be dangerous. Of course, we each draw the line in a different place.  Let’s look at both concepts.

Privacy means that we each have the right to protect the physical and emotional space around us. Privacy means that we each have the right to protect ourselves from intrusion. Privacy seems to be about the right to be a separate person with the ability to have some time and/or space belong to us alone, unshared.  You can feel your sense of privacy when someone enters your room without knocking or stands too close to you, or reads your mail over your shoulder.  When people post “Keep Out” signs, they are demanding privacy (unless you are a teenager then it is probably both).

 Secrecy, on the other hand, always involves the purpose of concealing information from someone else.  It may not be anything bad that we hide, but we intend for it (whatever it is) to remain unknown by someone else.  Keeping secrets requires a level of alertness and vigilance that can be exhausting.  Secrets may connect you to one person and estrange you from another. Generally, secrets are tiring because you must remain careful of not divulging your secret.  therefore, the result is that you have to edit, observe and censor your words and behaviors.

My guess is that we keep more secrets than we need to and, in doing so, we put additional strain on ourselves and our relationships.

If you are an early career therapist, you will find “What Do I Say?” an essential addition to your professional lilbrary.  you can purchase it at http://www.amazon.com

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