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Telling the Truth to Your Therapist 2-2-24

How to address the mistruth

  • Identify shame. Dishonesty can spark shame and lead you to avoid the problem. Perhaps you never mention the mistruth, which can prevent you from receiving the support you need. One way to outsmart shame is to name it. Start by exploring where it shows up in the body. You may notice a pit in your stomach or tension in your shoulders.

  • Quiet shame with self-compassion. You can start by telling yourself: “I recognize that we all feel ashamed sometimes. This feeling won’t last forever.” Seeing shame as part of the human experience can make you feel less alone.

  • Embrace courage and speak the truth. If you’ve been dishonest, let your therapist know. For example, if you were afraid of being criticized, consider saying: “I wasn’t upfront because I was worried about being judged.” Or if treatment isn’t going well, you might say: “I’d like to be honest about my experience in therapy.” If you’re unsure what prompted the mistruth, saying something like, “I’m not sure why I wasn’t honest,” can help.

reprinted from the WAPO 2-2-24

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