Therapy sessions require you to open up to your therapist about your experiences and feelings in a safe place. However, if you are new at this, you may be surprised to learn that there are some things you should never tell your therapist.
The following recommendations are not meant to make you nervous or uncomfortable. Instead, knowing the common mistakes to avoid will help you make better progress in your sessions.
So, in this article, we outline what you should never tell your therapist.
What You Should Never Tell Your Therapist
1. Never Tell Lies and Half-Truths
During therapy, some topics you’ll need to discuss are often hard, even with the people closest to you. Resist lying or telling half-truths in your responses because if your therapist feels there are inaccurate details, they will continue asking you questions to get a better picture. Besides, you will feel anxious as you try to remember what lie or half-truth you said in the first place; the fact that you aren’t opening up will also hamper your progress.
Also, don’t omit important information your therapist can use to process your thoughts and feelings.
2. Never State Only the Facts
Every person responds differently to a situation. Therefore, your therapist cannot assess the whole picture when you only state the facts. As you discuss a concern, reflect on your feelings and thoughts. Tell your therapist if you are unsure what you felt about the situation. Additionally, suppose you feel uncomfortable about your feelings on a particular subject; you can ask your therapist to avoid the issue until you feel more comfortable discussing it. Therapy aims to explore and uncover hidden emotions. By stating only the facts, you hinder your progress. However, therapy must always follow a pace that you feel comfortable with.
3. Never Test Your Therapist
You have shared much information with your therapist, but don’t test them to see if they remember everything. It’s normal for a therapist to ask you to remind them about who a particular person is or ask for clarification about a specific detail. It doesn’t mean they haven’t been listening or don’t care. Testing them prevents you from building a relationship with your therapist based on trust.
4. Never Apologize for Your Feelings
Therapy is a safe place where you can honestly express your feelings. Unless you have directly insulted your therapist, you don’t need to apologize for being candid about how you felt in a specific situation.
5. Never Tell Them You Didn’t Do Your Homework
Your therapist gives you homework to help you progress between sessions. It aims for you to practice the skills learned from your therapy sessions. These tasks aren’t long; your therapist requests them for your good. Therefore, don’t tell your therapist you didn’t do your homework. If you aren’t ready to do something requested, it’s better to be honest with your therapist, allowing them to explore your thoughts and feelings. They may also provide a more suitable homework alternative.
6. Never Talk About the Smallest Details
We did say you must give all the facts. Conversely, giving every minute detail wastes time because it leaves little room to discuss more important things during your sessions. You must maximize your time with your therapist to ensure it’s as productive as possible. So leave out the unnecessary details.
7. Never Ask Them What You Should Do
Therapy is about self-discovery and building your problem-solving skills. You don’t need to build a relationship where you depend on your therapist. They are trained not to advise clients.
8. Never Put Your Therapist in an Unfair Position
Phrases like “You Know What I Mean?” and “You Don’t Care About Me” are unfair and can lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, even if your therapist “knows what you mean,” they will encourage you to explain further and keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves.
Furthermore, statements like “you don’t care” or “it’s your job to care” insult a person who has agreed to see you before they even receive any payment. Therapists care about their patients, but it’s their job to challenge and encourage you to explore your inner feelings, even if they don’t always tell you what you want to hear.
It’s also very unfair to assume your therapist holds the same opinions or beliefs as you or to put them in the spotlight concerning these.
9. Never Ask Them to Diagnose Others
Your therapist’s role is to treat you. You cannot ask them to diagnose the people you refer to during conversations. Additionally, therapists prefer not to accept people who are related or family to another client to prevent damaging their trust or understanding.
10. Never Assume Therapy Won’t Work
Don’t let the assumption that therapy won’t work for you hold you back, even if you have tried it in the past. Therefore, you should also include this in what you should never tell your therapist. Give the therapy a try, and be honest with your therapist about what you feel is working and what is not.
A few more thoughts
Now that you know what you should never tell your therapist, remember their job is protecting you and their other clients. Therefore, remember that you should also not ask them to divulge information about their conversations with other clients because these are confidential. You should also avoid displaying violent emotions or expressing a romantic or sexual interest in them. Therefore, it’s crucial to preserve all boundaries so that you and your therapist can feel safe without fearing losing their right to practice. Remember that exceeding the limits constitutes a significant violation, and your therapist has the right to terminate their services or refer you to a higher level of care.
1. Examine your feelings and thoughts before talking to your therapist.
2. Discuss more than just the facts when discussing a concern with your therapist.
3. Don’t test your therapist or put them in an unfair position during sessions.
4. Don’t apologize for expressing any emotions you may have, even if they are negative.
5. Maximize time with your therapist by avoiding providing unnecessary details.
6. Never ask them what you should do or diagnose others referred to during conversations, as this is their job alone.
7. Lastly, never assume therapy won’t work; give it a chance before making up your mind, and always remember to respect all boundaries
Knowing what you should never tell your therapist remains the best way to get the most out of therapy. Besides protecting you from embarrassment, these tips will help you maintain open communications with the person you have chosen to divulge your innermost feelings without being inappropriate—therapy is about maximizing the time spent at every session.
What should I never tell my therapist?
You should never test your therapist, apologize for your feelings, don’t do your homework assignment, talk about the smallest details of a situation, ask them what you should do, put them in an unfair position, try and diagnose others referred to during conversations or assume therapy won’t work. Additionally, it is important to respect all boundaries between you and your therapist.
How can I maximize my time with my therapist?
To maximize time with your therapist, discuss more than just the facts when discussing a concern. Avoid providing unnecessary details and ensure you are honest about what is working and what isn’t within therapy.
What is the role of a therapist?
The role of a therapist is to help patients identify and explore inner feelings, challenge thought patterns, and build problem-solving skills. They are trained not to give advice or diagnoses on other clients that may be referred to during conversations. However, they care about their patients and aim for them to progress between sessions.
Can I ask my therapist questions?
Yes, asking your therapist questions throughout your sessions is perfectly normal. This can provide insight into what you need to focus on to get the most out of your appointments and open up a dialogue with your therapist. Good questions include “How does this apply to me?” and “How can I use this in everyday life?”.
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