June 24, 2021

Do You Lie to Your Therapist?

By Thomas Hlubin, Founder

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Having a strong therapist-patient relationship is extremely important for the success of your treatment. The more rapport that has been built with you and your therapist, the more you will trust them with sensitive information.

When this bond is weak or broken, we may not tell the entire truth about how we feel or we may not tell the full story when speaking of relationship issues. Although such white lies may indeed make us feel less uneasy when in a therapy session, the end result can be very consequential to say the least.

It should go without saying that everyone lies. Sometimes it is in our best interest to lie, while other times it is in our worst interest.

When it comes to speaking openly with your therapist, to not tell him or her the full picture will only result in advice that is not pertinent to what the real problem is, time spent on a therapeutic modality that is superfluous, a misdiagnosis, or even getting prescribed the wrong medication, if any at all.

What a disservice you would be doing yourself by failing to convey all of your psychological concerns with your therapist, knowing that a specific strategy would likely change your life forever, albeit with dialectical behavior therapy or a specific type of antidepressant.

The less information you give your therapist about your state of mind and your emotions, the more likely they will be unable to provide you with the advice and tools necessary to reduce your psychological suffering.

On the other hand, the more information you give your therapist about your mental state and your emotional life, the less likely they are to waste your time giving you advice that is irrelevant to your specific issues or providing you with treatment that is incomplete.

I understand the challenges of not feeling comfortable with disclosing sensitive or embarrassing information with a person whom you barely know, especially if you already have high anxiety. I have been there many times before.

If this is where you find yourself, the best thing to do is to just be honest. Tell your therapist that you are feeling anxious about discussing certain things with them and that you are not telling them the full picture of your mental health. This way, they will know that certain information is being tucked away, at least for the moment until more rapport and trust has been built.

Until that time comes, I encourage you to take solace in knowing that the therapist whom you are speaking to is a neutral, 3rd-party interlocutor, one who is (or at least should be) completely void of judgement. Knowing that whatever is said in your therapy session stays in your therapy session should make disclosing sensitive information about your emotional life all the more alluring.

Dealing with psychological distress can be tough, and in some cases it can be excruciatingly miserable. If you believe your current therapist to be officious, rude, or simply unqualified, then simply seek out a new one.

I’ve had 6 therapists in my lifetime and I can assure you they are not all created equally nor will your individual personality mesh well with every therapist either. So, I encourage you to try and give your current therapist a shot and wait to see if you become more comfortable with them. If not, then perhaps it may be time for you to find a new mental health professional.


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About the author

Thomas created Psych Times with the vision of helping those with mental illness find new and effective ways to cope with their symptoms, ultimately leading to increased equanimity. Struggling with anxiety for much of his life, he is also passionate about helping to end the stigma of mental illness.


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