Magazine article Psychology Today

Terms of Evasion

Magazine article Psychology Today

Terms of Evasion

Article excerpt

MOST PEOPLE HAVE an instinctive sense of what it means to keep personal information private, as opposed to secret. Privacy is motivated by a desire to withhold for oneself; secrecy is motivated by fear of revelation to others. And yet we blur the boundaries: What is the difference between a person who is intensely private and one who is a little bit secretive?

We have language and legalities to enforce state and corporate secrecy, as anyone who's ever signed an NDA can attest. Certain professions, including many psychologists represented in these pages, take professional oaths of confidentiality when dealing with clients.

Yet we have few terms and no clear directives to navigate the secrets that most often torment people. These are questions of identity and aspiration: "The human heart in conflict with itself," as Faulkner timelessly declared. …

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