One of the most difficult questions that I face as a psychotherapist is “what should I not tell my therapist?” It is not always easy to find out what you should not tell your therapist, especially if your therapist is a close friend. A friend might be able to give you advice on this subject. If not, there are some professional therapists who have written books or who have experience in this area. You can get some great advice in “The Therapy Guide to Therapists” by Dr. Carol D Terry.
There is no universal rule about what therapists should not tell their patients. Different therapists use different methods to communicate with their clients. What might work for one person, may not work for another. One therapist’s idea of a good communication strategy could be very different from another therapist’s.
One of the things that you should not tell your therapist is anything that might make them feel uncomfortable. The therapist has heard it all. You may tell your therapist that you are ashamed of your personal problems and issues. Or you may tell your therapist that you feel ashamed at your addiction problem and that you wish that you could stop using drugs. Both statements are valid because your therapist has heard it all before.
The important thing here is that you are sharing information and not embarrassed. Sometimes talking about your problems can help you to feel better about them and this in turn can help your therapist work with you more easily during treatment. Remember that your therapist has heard it all before. Feel free to give your therapist any information that you think they will need to help you. Your therapist will probably appreciate the effort that you are making to be honest and open.
Another important piece of information to share with your therapist is any family or social history that you have. Your therapist has probably already gathered some information on this for their research. Make sure that your therapist does gather this information. This way, your therapist will be able to tailor your treatment plan around any family or social history issues that you may have. This information can help your therapist build a stronger bond with your family members and loved ones during treatment.
If there are any feelings that you are currently having, such as guilt, anger, or sadness for instance, do not share this information with your therapist. Your therapist has heard it all before. Keep in mind that when you are receiving treatment, especially in an alcohol treatment program, your therapist is collecting this information to help them assess how you are processing different types of situations. Sharing this type of information may cause your therapist to make suggestions to avoid similar situations when they are conducting further treatment. This can do more harm than good.
Lastly, do not be afraid to let your therapist know if you are having thoughts of suicide or a “lasting” bad experience. Many times when people are talking to their therapist about suicidal ideation, they are not ready to discuss it with the right person in order to make sure that it is safe to do so. However, sharing this type of information may help to ensure that the therapist can better help you deal with things in the future. It can also help your therapist develop strategies for helping someone who is already suffering from suicidal ideation and actions.
So, as you can see, there are many instances where you should not tell your therapist certain things. However, you should be very careful about what you share. When in doubt, consult your doctor first. Also, ask people you trust for their opinion before you try to share any information with your therapist. Most people would be happy to help.