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being honest to your therapist
December 9, 1999
5:18 pm
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mnms
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Hi everyone. I just got off the phone with my therapist a few hours ago and now I'm struggling with this issue. How can I be completely honest with her when I am not even honest with myself? I am aware that she is there to help me and that she is not going to judge me, no matter what. But there are some things I fear sharing with her. Like that I've started doing self-harm to myself again. She knows that I have a problem with it and that I've been thinking a lot about it lately; she just doesn't know that I've done it. I don't understand why it is so hard to tell her. I know that she can't help me with it if I'm not honest with her. How can I get the courage to talk?

mnms

December 9, 1999
5:24 pm
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site coordinator
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mnms,

Part of recovery as you know, is the reaching out...you can do it. It's likely an old/and somewhat current coping skill for you to keep that stuff "safe".

Not being able to talk about it, is another issue which needs to be addressed...

To get the ball rolling, even if you need to write it down, and hand it to her on a piece of paper...

- SC

December 9, 1999
9:39 pm
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EssEmm
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mnms...

Sharing your most inimate secrets with a person whom you barely know is not an easy thing to do. I've been in counseling and I've had the same reservations that you have. You want to tell them, you know that you should tell them, you know that it's perfectly safe to tell them, but when the time comes, you don't tell them. I think it all goes back to society teaching us that we're not supposed to share our personal problems with strangers.

The fact that you're doing self harm is something that your therapist needs to know about though. I agree with the first response. You need to find some way to tell her. Write her a note, send her an e-mail, leave a message on her voice mail. Remember, you're going through a tough time right now and your therapist can help you out of it. Sparing yourself the discomfort and awkwardness of telling your therapist what's up is not worth the pain of going on like you are.

Let us know how it goes...

Best of luck...

EssEmm

December 10, 1999
9:18 am
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I dont know but there seems to be this fear in the back of my head that if i tell my therapist everything, he/she might do something to trouble me later on... that i might be vulnerable... and he will do something.. like maybe tell it to the whole world... or contact my family in some way and ... i just feel he/she will be able to do some harm to me in some way... or possibly make my life difficult in some way and impede my progress... i dont know, there are other things of this sort just 'hovering' above my head.. i think these 'fears' are making me feel hesitant to go the therapist. I know they look stupid (or funny to some) but they are there...someone tell me that what i am thinking is not the case and going to the therapist and telling him/her EVERYthing is not at all dangerous or risky in any manner (or it is?). Thankyou.

December 10, 1999
4:02 pm
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Hi Guest.

It's perfectly natural to have fears like yours about disclosing certain things to a counselor. As I said in my previos post, I've had them myself. Every once in awhile, you'll hear a story about a therapist who abuses his position and uses information about the client in a way that harms the client.

I can assure you though that these cases are in the vast minority. Most therapists take confidentiality and professionalism very seriously. Furthermore, if you go to a therapist who is liscenced by the state, (some states require liscencing, others don't) the therapist could lose his or her liscence for using information irresponsibily. If the therapist belongs to a professional organization like the APA, their membership in that organization could be revoked. In many cases, improper use of confidential client information can leave the therapist open to a nasty lawsuit and let's not forget that if word got out that a therapist was acting in an unprofessional manner, people would stop coming to that therapist and their practice would suffer big time. As you can imagine, the vast majority of therapists are not willing to risk these consequences and would never even THINK about breeching confidentiality. Of course there are some cases where a therapist may have to alert proper authorities if they believe that the client is a danger to themselves or others. Even in those cases though, only those who need to know would be told.

I hope this has set your mind somewhat at ease. The bottom line is that especially if your therapist is liscenced or belongs to a professional organization, it is safe to disclose personal information.

Hope this helped...

EssEmm

December 10, 1999
10:25 pm
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thanks...
how do you make sure your therapist is licensed by the state? Any official sources where his record can be found?

December 11, 1999
2:23 pm
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EssEmm
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You can ask the therapist to see proof of liscencing or of some kind of affiliation with a professional organization. Any therapist that is liscenced or affiliated with a professional organization is going to be safe 999 times out of a thousand. They should gladly produce proof that they are liscenced or affiliated. I'm not sure but I would think that each state should have some sort of a liscencing board that you could check with as well. You may want to look through the yellow pages or get on the internet to see if you can find the appropriate agency...

Good luck...

EssEmm

December 11, 1999
11:54 pm
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thanks

December 13, 1999
9:19 am
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Guest Guest good luck with your therapist, I know it is hard to be honest. Please talk about how you feel. You may find that you are less likely to harm yourself if you are able to be honest with your feelings. Take care

December 13, 1999
10:16 am
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eve
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hi mnms, it may sound weird - but maybe you can find the courage to tell her, when you realise that it is difficult. It's not just a little thing to trust somebody else, so it is not just "silly" of you to hesitate. We are so used to hiding our dark side from others and only show our sunny side (sometimes we don't even allow ourselfs to take a look into our dark corners). But - I think that is what therapy is all about, to get some help, and to learn how to accept help in a way that is not damaging. This help may come from your therapist or from yourself, so try and "be brave". Eve

December 13, 1999
12:46 pm
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Hi Brittiany, I am waiting to meet with some therapist and the first thing i'll do is to confirm when he/she is licensed and look up in the web too just to be sure. And then i think i will just tell him/her *everything* and anything that i want to tell him. And i hope i dont hesitate in any way.

In my theory a therepist is person who will never get angry or frustrated towards you and he will not start to dislike you in any way becuase of some of my thougts or ideas, even though if e.g. they severly differ from what he beleives in e.g. like views about religion, or about life's philosophy. And e.g. even if i call him bad names or tell him in the face that i dont like him (i think this wouldnt happen but its like the worst case maybe), he shouldnt really get angry , should he? Just remain calm and secure, right? I can many times tell whether a person is calm and secure or whether he is irritated by something, or not secure, or confident...

By doing these things, i'll be doing everything right, right? I hope things work out right for me.

December 19, 1999
9:53 pm
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kec
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Hi I'm new here but my therepist thinks this will be good for me even though I really don't feel like he listens to what I am saying. I try to explain to him how I feel and he tells me I am doing good I have been see him for 3 years and lately we just do not seems to be getting anywhere should I look for another therepist or just stick it out I really don;t think I could start over again. thanks for listening

December 20, 1999
10:16 am
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rebate
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kec,

Tell your therapist how you feel. Most Doctors appreciate the honest aproach. That is what they are there for. It may help get things going again.

If you still feel uneasy, try taking a break. Don't see him for a couple of weeks. My therapist was on vacation for 3 weeks earlier this year and when he came back we had some of the most gratifying sessions of our whole year together.

The break gave me time to do some heavy thinking and I was able to come up with my deepest concerns about issues that we had touched on, but not discussed in depth. It was a real breakthrough for us.

Good Luck

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