Will my therapist tell my parents? If your therapist is someone whom you trust implicitly, then they will be bound to share information with you. However, there are a few exceptions. Most psychotherapists and marriage counselors are trained in a specialized field which makes them particularly receptive to requests made by their clients. If you feel uncomfortable telling your therapist intimate details of your private life, then it might be best not to disclose such information. A therapist does have a professional duty to remain confidential regarding matters related to the client’s professional life.
Therapists tend to come across as very communicative people. They speak with you one on one and engage you in conversation. Consequently, you may expect that therapist to jump in with an unolicited opinion, guidance, or instruction. Depending on the therapist, he or she may take the form of non-verbal communication such as body language or voice inflections. Sometimes these “gifts” come in the form of non-verbal communications like body language.
Your therapist may refer to your parents as your “parent,” but this should never be construed as an endorsement of their parenting abilities. In fact, if anything, your therapist will likely advise you to seek out other parents for advice and counsel. You are a client, not a parent. Your therapist has no business attempting to influence or persuade you to take a certain approach towards your family issues. This sort of unsolicited guidance goes against the express policies of the American Psychological Association and is a clear example of unethical behavior.
Some therapists may tell your parents that they “have to be careful” about what they say to you because they could hurt your feelings. There is nothing inappropriate about this. The only problem is that your therapist is telling your parents something that they may already know (or may be unaware of). A professional therapist will not give parents an earful about how damaging their words or actions may be to you; rather they will let you know that your words are causing them hurt.
Your therapist may tell you that what you say to yourself “reflects badly” on you. Again, this is a classic example of the therapist inserting their own feelings into the situation. If you were making a comment about your feeling guilty for making a mistake when you tripped over a crack, your therapist would probably tell you that you should “not take yourself so seriously.” However, this same therapist might tell you that what you’re saying reflects badly on you because you said something ” insensitive.”
Does this mean you should break off contact with your therapist? Of course not. The important thing to do is remain responsive to your therapist’s feedback. If your therapist says that you are doing something incorrectly, politely ask him/her to repeat what they suggested. If they are unwilling to modify their talk in any way, you may want to consider working with someone else.
Another scenario: If your therapist is insisting that you “put your feet up or else” or else “be serious,” listen to them carefully. You might realize that what they mean is “behave properly.” If that is the case, then it may be time to see if another therapist who does not require you to be “serious” can help you. You should discuss the issue with your therapist to see if they have another therapist available who would be willing to work with you and your parents to ensure you are behaving appropriately.
In short, your therapist’s tips may not always be helpful. If your parents are your biggest problems, try to see if they can be modified so that your frustration does not get the best of you. If not, or if it seems as though you are dealing with a difficult client, you may need to seek professional help from a family therapist who is experienced in working with clients with varied emotional issues.