What Do You Say in Therapy?

What do you say in therapy? What do you expect to hear? As a therapist I’m often asked what do you say in therapy? What do we expect to hear and how can we help the client to navigate the minefield of talking about his or her problems?

When I talk with clients, I find they often say what do you say in therapy? They are afraid of the answers. They are afraid of the criticism. They are afraid of the cost. Most often it’s simply fear that keeps them from opening up.

I hear clients say, “I can’t talk about this. My partner would be upset.” Or “I am fearful of being judged. What do you say in therapy?”

Therapy is about building a bridge across the emotional and physical divides in your lives. Talking about what do you say in therapy? Is it safe? How do we get past the defenses of avoidance?

It all starts with your client coming to the realization of the fact that there are parts of him or her that are currently in turmoil. The client must have the ability to hear those parts and be able to address them in healthy ways. If the client can’t talk about them then he or she isn’t likely to open up. If the client can’t address them in healthy ways then he or she isn’t likely to change. Creating a talking point based on real needs will empower the client and will bring about emotional relief.

What do you say in therapy when a client comes unprepared for a discussion about his or her childhood experiences? That’s a tough one. You don’t want to talk about the bad stuff but you also don’t want to ignore what’s happening to the client. You have to take a balancing act. You want to create space for the client so that he or she can work through the issues.

It’s a good idea for you, as a coach, to offer some supportive words to the client even when you’re not necessarily providing advice. The client needs to feel heard and validated. You can offer that validation by using your talking point and not by just saying “It’s your choice” or “You’re making a big mistake.” For instance, if you’re describing how you were angry when your child wouldn’t listen, rather than saying, “You were furious because you felt like you weren’t listening,” you could say, “You were trying to get attention and push your kid to listen to you when he wasn’t ready to listen.”

If the client is having problems identifying problems then you have to be very clear about what you don’t want the client to do. If you don’t want them to do the dishes, you shouldn’t ask them to do them. You don’t want to say in therapy what do you say in therapy; you need to keep it as much about helping the client find solutions to their problems as it is about offering advice and that’s the most important part of it all.

You may find yourself becoming agitated as you hear the questions from the client. The best way to react is to remain calm and polite. You may wish to offer the same suggestions that you would to someone who isn’t currently undergoing therapy. You don’t have to re-litigate all of the things that were said at therapy or the problems that the client is facing but you do need to mention them.

What do you say in therapy about the client’s family life? If you are still involved with your ex and the issues are affecting your life and the relationship, then you may want to mention this at your first session. Be sure to be brief but to the point and let the client know you’ve been communicating with them and there’s an urge to work it out.

Sometimes it can be easy to say, “It’s fine” but when it comes to a client who has had a traumatic experience, their words can be limited. If you find yourself brooding over another person’s issue, you might want to offer, “I am sorry” or “I can help them.” Again, be brief. It helps the other person feel understood. The therapist will pick up on any self-defeating behaviors and work with the client to overcome them.

So, “What do you say in therapy?” is no longer just a simple yes or no question. Therapists are good at connecting with clients on many different levels. When that happens, the client often doesn’t even realize they’re having therapy. It can help open up lines of communication and help a therapist heal a client faster and more effectively.