virtual therapy in charlotte

Truth be Told: The Importance of Honesty in Therapy

Therapy can be hard. It can be hard to navigate a lifetime of avoiding being brutally honest with the people around you and then suddenly be expected to open up, without reservation, with a therapist.

Being honest with your therapist means you have to be honest with yourself, and that can be hard on a different level entirely.

The lies we tell ourselves about ourselves (and the lies we tell others) may not be intentional, but they can absolutely be doing damage. We can so avoid confronting the truth that is holding us back that we never really get around to it in a session. Being vulnerable is scary. Allowing yourself to feel the full range of your emotions – opening yourself up – is a difficult thing to do.

It’s worth it.

Here are three things holding you back from being honest in therapy:

Fear of judgement

A lot of us feel that we might be judged by our therapist for not being able to be immediately honest and vulnerable. You might expect me to tell you that you’re being ridiculous. Absolutely not. Good therapists understand that you’ve gone your entire life knowing you’ll be judged if you’re completely honest and vulnerable. It’s true for everyone. Therapy is a unique setting – it’s one of the few ‘judgement-free’ zones. That takes getting used to. If your therapist makes you feel safe, comfortable, and heard, you should know that they’re on your side. What you tell them will remain private. Furthermore, they have your best interests in mind.

Desire to protect yourself or others

Some of you may feel the need to withhold information about yourself. I’ve seen it before. Clients will hold their issues close to their chest. They feel that, if they don’t, they’ll run the risk of causing harm to the people in their life that they care about.

For example, if a client has an abusive significant other, they may be hesitant to bring up the abuse, because they’ve been conditioned to protect their abuser. However, it’s on the therapist to create an environment that feels safe. That can happen over time. If there are things in your life that you don’t feel you can bring up to your therapist, you should probably mention them to your therapist. (However, you should only do that if you feel that your counselor is someone who you can trust!)

Difficulty trusting the therapist

Once again, it’s on the therapist to create an atmosphere that fosters trust and safety. Consequentially, If you feel that you cannot trust your counselor, you should ask yourself why. Do you have a bias or a fear of being honest, or is your therapist giving you real indications that you should have concerns? Therapists are obligated to maintain your privacy. Are you mistrusting because you don’t want to share or is there something else going on?

This can be especially true for people seeking therapy in rural areas or in smaller communities. In such cases, there’s a higher chance that their therapist might know some of the same people as you. Nevertheless, virtual therapy has made this an easier issue to avoid though. To illustrate, virtual therapy sessions can be conducted from the comfort of your own home, making it easier to open up to your therapist without worrying about running into them in your community.

If you would like to listen to our episode about being honest with your therapist, check out our podcast:

Here are three reasons you should prioritize being honest in therapy:

It facilitates more effective treatment

Therapy only works if you work it. Your therapist cannot see inside your brain and doesn’t know your innermost thoughts. They’re trained to help you, but only if you’re able to communicate what’s going on. You get out of it what you put into it.

It builds trust and rapport

In therapy, it’s all about the relationship. The relationship between you and your therapist is the building block that your journey is built on. If you are able to be honest with your therapist, you start to build trust. Consequentially, you’ll soon find yourself maximizing your experience, sharing things with your therapist that you never would have thought you could say out loud. Trust me, you’ll never look back.

It promotes self-awareness and personal growth

When you’re honest with your therapist, you’re more likely to gain key insights. Insight into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The things that drive who you are and what you do will now be able to be evaluated by an unbiased source! There’s real freedom in that. You can start unlearning harmful behaviors and moving on to a more fulfilled and happy life.

Struggling to be honest? Try these techniques in your next session:

Tell your therapist directly that you’re struggling to be honest

Nothing wrong with giving them a heads up. Letting them know will help you take that first step towards building a better relationship. Subsequently, they can respond in kind and help you on your journey more specifically.

Write down what’s happening throughout your week

That’s right, keep a journal! Even if you’re just jotting down periods of stress or strong emotions, helping yourself capture how you feel in a specific moment will help you tremendously as you go into a weekly session.

Share a just a little to start

Decide to share a small piece of something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Test the waters! You don’t have to spill the beans all on your first session. These things take time. Push yourself a bit, and see how it feels. If your therapist is worth their stuff, you won’t regret it.

If you’re interested in working with a therapist at AshTree Counseling Center, you can contact us here for a free consultation. We work hard with our clients to create environments where they feel safe and are able to maximize their personal growth. We take great pride in our approach.

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