Hello November and Welcome back!! This month we are talking about why we lie in therapy when truth is a fair alternative.
Like most millennials, I was on IG or FB, I can never remember which one, but I came across an “article” aka a post whose headline read “why do I lie to my therapist?” If you know me, you know I didn’t click the link to read the article, but I made a note of it and thought maybe I’ll blog about that. As a psychotherapist, I literally sit across from people all day and watch their mannerisms, their emotions, and read body language. Am I an expert? depends on who you ask... if you ask me, sure I am. So with all of this, I sat and thought about the people that I’ve seen and worked with and all the lies I’ve been told- sometimes on purpose, sometimes on accident. So why do people lie to their therapist? My top 5 reasons, in no particular order are... trust, respect, judgement, shame/guilt, and just because. Rapport building is the foundation in therapy for therapist and client alike. Establishing a trusting relationship leads to clients feeling comfortable to open up, and when this is absent, lies can be present. Respect is next, we tend to honor people we respect with trust. Some people feel that respect must be earned, you have to work towards this diligently to be rewarded with the truth. Judgement isn't typically helpful unless we are identifying healthy vs. unhealthy behaviors. If your therapist tends to make judgments in conversation that you can identify, that may lead to your skirting certain topics due to perceived judgement. Lies can be rooted in guilt and shame. We have things that we need to discuss but feel so damn guilty about feeling how we feel or not feeling the way that others have portrayed that we should. Lastly, Sometimes we lie just "because" (*Kanye shrug*). It’s not always indicative of who we are, our dedication to progress, trust or mistrust. If you notice that you aren’t telling the truth or withholding truths, see if there is a pattern, a common thread in the topics/subjects that lead you to avoid brutal honesty. Push yourself to drop that first clue in your session. You don’t have to give more than you are comfortable with, #boundaries, but remember, you are in a safe space, you are there to improve, so don’t be the thing that holds you back from your goal. Being honest is hard, but you can do hard thing!
Until next month!! For weekly therapy postings follow us on Instagram @apcounselingdmv.