How to tell your therapist something hard

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In this blog we will discuss how you can tell your therapist something hard and difficult.

We will also discuss some other things that you should tell your therapist as well as how you can get the most out of therapy.

How to tell your therapist something hard?

If you have been wondering whether you should tell your therapist something hard and difficult, the best thing you can do is to be straightforward and share it. 

Here are a few steps you can take:

Get started

Book a session with them and when you are settled with them, you can take your time to lead the session into the conversation. 

Acknowledge the discomfort

You can start by telling your therapist about what is troubling you and letting them know that you haven’t been talking about something that you feel you should be, and that you’re having trouble doing so. 

Acknowledging that it is hard for you to share can also be a crucial piece of information for you and your therapist that needs to be worked on. 

By doing this, you and your therapsit opens up the space to discuss what is troubling you and holding you back which can be easier than talking about the issue. 

Deal with the fear of judgement

You have to understand that your therapists have been trained for this and they are there to help you and support you. 

If you are afraid of being judged or leaving your therapist in shock, any ethicalk therapist will not let this piece of information deter them away from how they see you and how they work with you. 

Discussing with your therapist the fears that you have can be a great place to start. 

Understand the benefits of open disclosure

Whatever you might have to say, no matter how difficult, hard, ugly, and shocking, understand that your therapist might have dealt with similar clients before and they are not fazed by it. 

Instead, open disclosure of what is difficult for you is what they appreciate and like to get from clients if they are to help their clients work on themselves. 

For your own growth and your own mental health, it is best that you are open and honest about your issues and discuss it with them directly. 

Take your own time

You have to understand that you can share as much as you want, your therapist cannot force it and you have every right to think things over the issue before you open up to your therapist. 

You can take time after this initial session before you discuss the main problem, when you are ready you can talk about it. 

If you want to talk to them about something hard here are a few things for you to remember:

  • Dont be afraid of judgement if you and your therapist have already formed a good bond- being honest with them will not make them see you any other way instead it will help them understand you better so that they can help you help yourself.
  • Talk about it in the session not only your way out or in passing, or outside of the session so that you and your therapist can effectively work on the issues together. 
  • Be honest about it, there is no point in trying to save face, non judgement is part of their role. 
  • You also have to remember that once you bring something up, you might have to deal with it—not just the situation itself, but the uncomfortable feelings that accompany it. 
  • If there is anything related to harming yourself and others, you have to understand that they might have to break confidentiality inorder to protect you and it is required by law for them to do so. 

If you do not feel comfortable sharing with your therapist, it could be a sign that you do not feel safe with them.

Here are some signs that your therapist is benign unethical:

An unethical therapist is that they judge you or shame you for what you mighthave said or decisions you have made etc. 

An unempathetic therapist is an unethical one, so if you feel like your therapist is judging you, you should consider moving on from this therapist. 

When you are working with a therapist, and you notice your therapist is starting to take advantage of your vulnerability, you need to find yourself a new therapist immediately. 

This could manifest in ways such as, they ask you out for dinner or they tend to make sexual suggestions or romantic propositons etc. 

In this case, you could consider changing your therapist. So once you have had the conversation, pay attention to how they are accommodating of your needs while you also respect their boundaries as your therapist. 

Pay attention to how they are dealing with your crisis needs and your anxieties, make sure that you feel safe and that you trust your gut. 

If you find that your therapist has not been mindful nor have they made efforts to understand you- it is possible that your therapist is breaching ethicality and it is best for you to move on to someone else. 

In such a case, you can let them know that you would like to terminate the sessions with them and be direct in your feedback while doing so. 

You have every right to change therapists if you find that the way this therapist works is not the kind of support you need or require. 

You can also consider reporting them. Here are a few steps for you to take in reporting a therapist:

  • Looking into the licencesing or preceding board related to psychotherapy and counselling of your state and country. 
  • Fill out an official complaint form, or email and submit it to a licensing board. This form is usually a downloadable PDF that you can mail in or an online form that you can find on the licensing board’s website or the state department’s website.
  • You might have to mail in a request for the form for some cases, if that is the case- make contact and request for a form. 
  • Contact the department of board directly if it’s possible by phone and let them know your grievances. 
  •  However, for any formal complaints it is usually mandatory that it must be submitted in writing. 

Filing a complaint against a therapist is an in-depth process that requires a lot from you and the parties involved to see it through. It is not a one time thing and you will be expected to be part of the entire process. 

When you file a complaint, the licensing board will investigate it which means that they will talk to you and the therapist about what happened. 

As part of the investigation, it is very likely that they will rech out to you and the therapist along with other parties for evidence and proof of your claims. 

This will require plenty of cooperation and time from your end as well as the therapist involved. 

What are some things you should always tell your therapist?

Here are a few things you should always tell your therapist:

Issue or behavior you haven’t revealed to them.

Some of the most important things you need to tell your therapists include the things you have no told them, these include what you think are your darkest issues.

Not doing so would be a waste of your time and it is very likely that you will not progress much in therapy if you have been hiding things from them such as childhood sexual abuse, how much you drink, how often you take painkillers, binge-eating, or the fact that you have rage.

It is best that you reveal it to them so that they can get a fuller picture of your life and your symptoms so that they can make a more accurate plan for you. 

They said or did something that upset you

You have to understand that you have every right as a person within that session as do many other people, this means that if they have dont anything that made you feel wronged, you should bring it up in the session.

Your therapist is not greater than you, in fact an ethical therapist is one that makes you feel respected and that they respect you.

If you experience any interaction with them that rubbed off on you negatively, bring it up to them and open the space for a helpful and honest conversation if your therapist is ethical. 

This would be a good thing for you because the therapist can get a greater picture of who you are as a person and at the same time, it will help you and the therapist make an even deeper and respectful bond. 

You are doubtful of progress

If you have been noticing that you are not progressing and that the sessions are not helping, bring up the issue with them. 

It could be their lack of experience, it could be because you do not gel with them, it could also be because of differences in orientation etc. 

The best thing you can do for yourself and them is to bring about it immediately so that you and your therapist can work on this issue and you can either address resistance that you might be expeirnceing or the possibility of changing your therapist. 

Payment issues

Money and financial arrangements is an important issue to be discussed by a therapist, esoeically when you notice that payment is a cause of stress for you. 

If you have financial limitations, bring it up with your therapist to discuss a possible middle ground where they can have you pay within a sliding scale. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed how you can tell your therapist something hard and difficult.

We have also discussed some other things that you should tell your therapist as well as how you can get the most out of therapy.

FAQ related to How to tell your therapist something hard

References

Anna Borges. 11 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Therapy Right Now. Self. Retrieved on 14th May 2022. https://www.self.com/story/what-to-talk-about-in-therapy

8 Things You Hide From Your Therapist But Shouldn’t. Refinery29. Retrieved on 14th May 2022. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/difficult-therapy-conversations

6 Awkward Things You Should Always Tell Your Therapist. Psychology Today. Retrieved on 14th May 2022. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/friendship-20/201503/6-awkward-things-you-should-always-tell-your-therapist

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