What You Should Never Tell Your Therapist
It’s important you are honest about what you want from therapy. But is it always to be honest with your therapist?
Therapy is a great way to get support from someone who has experience dealing with similar issues.
Talking to a professional can help you gain insight into your problems and develop coping strategies and is one of the most powerful tools to help you come out of a situation where you feel emotionally trapped.
Whilst you should be open-minded and willing to let a third party in, there are some things you shouldn’t say during therapy sessions. Which might seem counterintuitive at first, but will become clear as you read on.
If you’re looking for advice on how to have the most optimal therapeutic relationship, here are five things that you should never say in session:
1. Half-Truths Or White Lies
You may think that telling half-truths or white lies will make you seem more ‘relatable’ but this isn’t true. In fact, lying makes people less trustworthy, so if you lie to your therapist, they’ll have no reason to trust you.
We know that opening up to a stranger can feel like a daunting experience, and this is one of the most common reasons why people never make a breakthrough in therapy.
If you’re not comfortable sharing certain details, then don’t force yourself to do it just because you think you need to be honest.
You could end up feeling worse than before because you know that what you are saying is making the job of your mental health professional that much harder.
Be as truthful as you can be; and if you are struggling to open up, remember that you don’t need to get your life resolved in one hour, as it rarely works like that.
2. What You Should Never Tell Your Therapist: “I’m Talking Way Too Much In These Sessions.”
Talking too much in therapy sessions is not something to be ashamed of, and for many people that go through the therapy process, it can actually be a beneficial thing to achieve.
If you find yourself getting stuck in your head and worrying about what you should never tell your therapist, simply let your therapist know that you are going to be sharing a lot, which can help them identify the most important points.
This is also an opportunity to reflect on what you’ve been discussing. It’s okay to ask yourself questions like ‘What am I learning?’ or ‘How does this relate to my current situation?’
And the good news is that if you are going off on tangents, the therapist will be able to guide you back on track and steer you in the right direction.
3. All Facts, No Feelings
This one will likely resonate with the more logical person who is prone to stating the facts but never getting down to how they really feel inside.
The truth is that without opening up with how you feel, the therapist’s job is going to be that much harder to complete because their picture is not going to be complete.
For example, if you explain that your parents divorced when you were young, but forget to mention that you were sad that you had to move away from your house where you grew up with a large network of friends; this could likely be why you are scared of change.
Or perhaps you had a particularly nasty breakup but don’t mention to the therapist that you feel sick when you see them with their new partner on social media.
Remember to express as well as state and you’ll improve your sessions tenfold.
4. Being Apologetic For The Way You Feel
The number one rule of therapy is that it is a safe space for you to express what is on your mind and help you release some of that energy that may be impacting your health.
However, if you start apologizing for things that aren’t your fault, like the way you feel, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Therapy is about helping you deal with issues that are affecting your mental wellbeing, and if you want to get better, you shouldn’t apologize for anything.
Don’t forget that the therapist knows you are probably going through something right now, which they are trained to handle and help you effectively.
Remember, it is not your job to entertain or make the experience as painless as possible for the therapist; it’s their job to listen to your situation.
Sometimes we can’t help the way we feel, and the only way to accept that is to express it in a safe space.
5. Don’t Ask Your Therapist To ‘Fix’ You
Most people go into therapy with the assumption that if they do x, y, and z, the star will align and everything will be alright.
This is the common approach for those that seek a diet or supplement that is going to lose them all the weight they want, those that want a quick fix.
What ends up happening is they lose the weight, but put it all back on again because they haven’t fixed what’s most important about long-term sustainable weight management; a lifestyle fix.
First, it’s healthy to understand that you’re not broken, to begin with. Everybody has their flaws and nobody is perfect, even if certain apps make it appear that someone is living a perfect life.
With that said; you’ll be disappointed if you think therapy is a magic pill and that you won’t have to do any of the work.
A therapist knows the right things to say, but ultimately it is down to you to carry out the work and complete the actions that will help you move forward in life.
So if you are solely relying on your therapist throughout your sessions, you might be missing the point entirely.
Now that you know not what to say, this should help you get the most out of your therapy sessions. Be honest, be open, and go into your sessions with an attitude that you want to help yourself.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: February 28, 2024