I talk to a lot of people who have mental health issues. A week doesn’t go by that I don’t meet someone new who tells me a piece of their life story, and I glimpse at the desperation that eats them up inside. The desperation …

79 Comments to
Why Would You Lie to Your Therapist?

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  1. Why lie to your therapist? Because if a patient mentions suicidal thoughts in any detail, the therapist locks you up or has the potential to lock you up. That gives the patient lots of positive reinforcement to lie to the therapist after the patient has lost his or her freedom and been locked up for being honest.. A patient may feel that he/she cannot trust the therapist with any suicidal thoughts anymore. Although therapists describe therapy as a collaborative relationship, in the end the therapist has the power and he/she has the discretion to use it in what he/she think “is the best interest of the patient”. Often the therapists’ motives are not so pure. They fear litigation; they have had a personal bad experience with a patient that makes them overreact to suicidal thoughts; they rationalize that the patient is in no state to determine whether the patient is suicidal, so they have to step in. The patient thereafter learns hard lessons about what to tell and what not to tell.

  2. The responses to this entry have been fantastic, varied, and insightful. Later this month, I will write a followup on the most common reasons people lie to their therapists, based upon the feedback we’ve received here and in email, from both consumers and therapists.

    Thanks for a great and thought-provoking conversation!

  3. As a client, I did a lot of thinking about truth telling in the therapeutic relation. I agree that therapeutic improvement is hindered when the client hides knowledge pertinent to the therapy. However I’m stunned that most of the comments, and the writer, take it that the therapist is a fixed entity, who can, and likely will in most cases, accept the patient’s truth telling. That’s not it at all! Therapy is a dynamical relationship between two human beings, not between some objective god and a falliable human! I discovered that there were layers and layers to truth telling in therapy, and that I needed the therapist to tell the truth, not to hide behind professional screens, as well. Just like any complex moral and emotional relationship, therapy is a dance of two minds, two moralities. The therapist and client have different roles, but it is a dance. I found therapy to be hampered not only when I held back something that needed to be revealed, looked at, but when the therapist coasted on her role, and held back her own truths. I’m not talking about family secrets here…there’s a sincerity and authenticity needed in straight talk…on both ends. I finally quit therapy when I discovered that my therapist was hiding a weakness in herself that had directly to do with how she modeled health to me, which come down to it, wasn’t healthy enough to help me at that point. What a shock that was. I think it’s condescending, actually, to presume that truth telling isn’t extremely necessary on the part of both conversants. Therapists aren’t gods. They’re trained, experienced partners in moral, mental and emotional exploration and restructuring. Their ability to challenge themselves, in a healthy way, to conduct their role in a professional and authentic way, and I stress authenticity, is absolutely as necessary as truth telling on the client’s part. Once you peel back the first layer of telling the truth, there’s certainly more work to do.

  4. This article completely invalidates the pain and discomfort that the client is feeling. It is often because of years of struggling to deal with a traumatic incident, or an entire childhood full of invalidation (such as can be found in this article), that a client can find him or herself in psychotherapy.
    A well-known fact (among the professional psychotherapists) that is little acknowledged to the general public is that therapists CAN and DO pass judgment; it is called countertransference. Therapists are not automatons incapable of hurt and negativity, and when someone who has been suffering to the point that they are seeking a professional to help them out, I would say that person may feel the need to be careful because they are so vulnerable to being further hurt. And if the therapist is fully qualified and well educated, then he or she should be able to provide an environment of comfort and trust. They went to school for that, didn’t they?

  5. I’ve lied to my therapist because I’ve done something that shock me and I can’t believe I’m the kind of person who would do this. I can’t really comprehend that the reality of who I actually am can, at times, be so different from who I thought I was. When I talk to my therapist and he doesn’t know…. for a while, I get to be who I was again… the “good” person who hasn’t shamed herself… and I think, “maybe I can be that person again. Maybe I can find her”

  6. E brings up an important point, one that I’ll talk more about in the next article on this issue, counter-transference.

    What isn’t mentioned, however, is that good therapists recognize countertransference when it’s occurring and work on it in their own therapy. A therapist’s job is never to pass judgment on people’s regular behavior.

  7. I don’t think you will find a therapist who has succeeded in NEVER judging a client or who has NEVER taken a bit of time to figure out their counter-transference response is precisely that. (While you might find some who deny that they have ever done this – these are the ones who lack self-awareness who I’d be sure to stay well clear of).

    Therapists are human too.

    The good ones… They still flinch at times. From some of the things I say, from some of the things I’ve done. What makes a good one good (with me) is that we have enough emotional attunement and trust such that the misattunement / disgust / repulsion / judgement is momentary and will pass and there will be moments of attunement again. That there is basically a mutual respect and liking.

    The only way to establish that is to take some time.

    I’m not going to blurt things I’m very vulnerable about before the therapist has shown me that the therapist has the professional ability, self stability, and empathy to cope with / handle what it is that I want to tell them. How come? Because I’ve had many therapists – who are typically regarded as competent) not handle things well. Basically… Trust has to be EARNED. Merely being called ‘psychologist’ or ‘psychiatrist’ is not enough to earn my trust. How come? Because I’ve met many a competent therapist who lacks the ability to appropriately understand / empathize / cope.

    Some therapists lie to clients, too. ‘I’ll never leave you’ – a promise that can’t be kept. ‘I’ll email / call you’ – and then they don’t. Why do therapists lie to clients, do you suppose? Other things too ‘I see what you mean’ a validating strategy that might have emotional truth even when the therapist doesn’t follow the content at all. ‘I don’t think you are disgusting’ just after you have observed them visibly recoil and move suddenly from sitting forward to sitting back in their chair with legs crossed.

  8. Is fear of judgment or embarrassment the only reason why a person would lie to their therapist? I think not! In the VA (Veterans Administration) system the therapist is free to write what they want regardless of whether or not it is true. Errors and intentional misdiagnosis are frequent as it is in the best interest of the VA to lie about a diagnosis rather than compensate a veteran for their service. Also, as mentioned previously, being open about any suicidal ideation is sure to get one locked up w/no promise of treatment–at least in the VA system. When a therapist (or an organization) has their own agenda, how can they be expected to tell the truth/act in the best interest of their patient?

  9. Oh, c’mon! I haven’t tended to lie to my therapists–nothing to do w/fear or not of being judged. But I’ve certainly have encountered any number of therapists who were judgmental–and that’s not being paranoid. Indeed, my favorite example is the therapist (probably the best, most professional one I’ve had), who after my major suicide attempt, the first thing he had to say to me after I got out of the closed ward and came back for an appointment was, “How could you do this to me?”! As if I did it to him???

  10. Why would you go to a therapist who expects you NOT to lie. One would be foolish to disclose to an individual who may or may not be qualified to treat you. Therapists are not gods; their training and expertise varies; they have different boundaries with patients even within the existing legal and ethical norms and laws.

    Victim of childhood abuse and neglect have a damn good reason not to trust and disclose — nondisclosure to family and friends may have protected them and allowed them to survive. Yes, at some point defense mechanisms become self-defeating, but to think that one would abandon old patterns so easily is foolish at best, malpractice at worse.

    The author compares therapy to visiting his “Old French Doctor.” That’s a nice metaphor on the surface, but psychological injury, unlike physical ones are not socially acceptable. We live in a society whose mantra is “pull yourself up by the bootstrap.” It is a victory for many to even get into a therapist office. That’s the starting point with a good therapist of an unfolding of truths that may take some time. Trust must be built; the therapist is supposed to gently push and pry.

    As someone who has suffered from substantial childhood abuse and neglect, the road from the depths of depression and the agony of panic disorder, has been a long and expense one. There was no easy cures; there were few simple disclosures of what went wrong.

    A good therapeutic relationship, especially for those who have suffered significant childhood trauma is about building trust and negotiating boundaries — something that often did not happen when one was a child.

    And let’s not forget the simple fact that many therapists, like many doctors and teachers, while degreed and licensed are simply not that good. They don’t merit full disclosure, but do merit the protective shield of an occasional lie.

  11. Some patients have problems disclosing the truth because they don’t know what the truth is, or why it would behoove them to tell the truth.

    Many of them were forced to keep secrets for years, and before they begin to explore these secrets, which they have often repressed, they need to develop a high level of trust.

    Developing trust takes time and some patients can watch and wait for years before developing the requisite level of trust.

    A relationship is a two way street, even in, or perhaps I should say, especially in therapy. Therapists who fail to understand that dynamic often have patients who don’t do very well in the long run.

  12. I have expeirencedthe fact of “NO ONE LISTENS”. I have been in therapy myself for many years and there have been times that even when I didtotal get honest, it did not seem to help. There was no futher help, is what I mean. I am now studying psyc and love it a lot. I have no had an easy life like most people and a lot of emotional trauma, which has rolled down hill to my children. It has taken years to get where I am today and today I am as honest as I know how to be. I don’t have any true answers for others but I have found that perception is a big key in thinkingand knowing.

  13. “Your therapist won’t judge you” Ha. I’m an LCSW and completed my internships at a highly regarded mental health clinic and then an inpatient psychiatric unit. Therapists may be very respectful in their manner when with clients, but John, you are disingenuous when you pretend that therapists are not judgemental or critical. In staff meetings and at conversations at lunch etc. in both places, and in subsequent emploment, I have heard LOTS of mockery, disgust, condescension, irritation, contempt and plenty of just plain gossip about patients among mental health professionals. The psychiatrists I somehow have found to be the most cavalier, but lousy attitudes were there in social workers and psychologists as well. And it wasn’t everyone.
    As a social worker in therapy myself, I would never tell a therapist my darkest secrets until I felt very certain trust, which would take time, and I would never disclose anything very private at an institution where my case would be discussed and charted. Get real. We disclose humiliating physical ailments because the are not generally a result of agency and are not subject to moral evaluation etc. You know that. Trust is something that a psychotherapist must earn, not demand. That’s part of what we get paid for.

  14. People lie because they want to be loved and feel unlovable. People lie because they are seeking the approval they never got from their parents. People lie because they are in ‘denial’. People lie unconsciously. This list is not exhaustive. I regularly counsel couples, often separately and hear subtly different versions of the same events. What is the truth anyway? Hopefully one of the benefits of the therapeutic process is for the subject to get closer to the truth about themselves, others and the world and thereby lead a richer, happier and more fulfilled life.

    Simon Ehlert
    Online Therapist

  15. When I have had difficulty discussing an issue that was either embarrassing or on which I thought my therapist might pass judgment (though I must say I’ve been terribly lucky that I’ve never come across one who did), I would tell my therapist that there was something I needed to talk about that was really hard to say…that was embarassing, or might make him/her think I was really “sick.” Suffice it to say that a truly quality therapist will never feel this way; they’ve heard EVERYTHING by the time they’ve practiced for five years! Interestingly, I would often wait until the last two minutes of my session to say this, because I’d been trying so hard NOT to utter a word that would reveal I was withholding something…and the anxiety would build. I would ask my therapist to make a note for our next session to ASK me about what was so tough to bring up at the last.

    A perfect scenario: erotic or even XXX-rated thoughts that I, as a female, could not begin to discuss with my male therapist. Ultimately, we were able to talk about them, and he did not pass judgment, or laugh. Because he did genuinely care about me, his patient. And THAT’s the perfect therapist/patient relationshp. Good luck finding one. This has been the most difficult task in my life…ever since my therapist of 20 years closed his practice.

    Please do not assume that it is always intentional for a patient when s/he is “withholding,” something, thereby “lying” by omission. Some subjects are just too painful to bring up. It can take a long time before the patient trusts the therapist, to be able to fall apart in front of someone…. Some people think they are like Humpty Dumpty…and will never be able to become one piece again once they vomit up the agonizing stuff.
    Yes, there are people who lie to their therapists…. There will always be people who lie about everything. Eventually, if there is enough pain, the lies will become tranformed or be somatisized into physical symtoms…and believe me, those cannot be hidden because that is the kind of pain with which we are used to dealing.

  16. i doubt most people who do so actually *want* to lie to their therapists. a dozen reasons spring to mind- a person can inability to face or even genuinely recognize problems in some way, which is probably what the person is at the therapist for…or they could actually forgetting or repressing certain details. someone might even fear a response just like this article- oh why didn’t you tell me this sooner, you are wasting our time, etc. fear like that is powerful and, again, one of many reasons someone would seek out a therapist in the first place.

  17. What you say is, of course, sensible. It is sometimes the case, however, that if the truth came out (an alcoholic doctor or lawyer, for example) there might be severe consequences. What if your patient abuses his/her children? You are obliged to report them. Then what happens to their careers? I think fear of other people finding out is legitimate. Who has access to your case notes? Telling the truth is desirable in therapy, but scary!

  18. Therapists lie. They reveal private information. They attempt to coerce patients into illicit sexual activity. They don’t listen and they do fall asleep. Have seen it all first hand.

    I am starting to wind down my “therapy” – it never did really work. It was a temporary patch for dealing with the death of someone in a very unusual situation. The therapist does not want to admit that situation was going on. I don’t have alcoholism, drug history, suicide, purging, or any of the “classic” symptoms that shrinks love.

    I’m trying to figure out how to get on w/my life and am finding no help at all. (Medical issues are involved.) Therapists are in some situations quite jealous. I feel no support. In fact, the 7 years have in some ways been more harmful than helpful. I suspect a coach might be more helpful but I can’t afford it. An MD I’ve known for 20 + years (not in mental health) was ultimately far more helpful to me than any coniving therapist. With that doc I made amazing progress in my life.

    After reading this, I am now more certain than ever that so-called therapists cannot be trusted and shouldn’t be.

    I see some very defensive and judgemental “therapists” on this thread.

  19. If you don’t understand why people lie to their therapists, then I sure am glad you’re not my therapist.

  20. It doesn’t help to lie outright to your therapist.

    But a patient has a perfect right to refuse to talk about anything, for any reason whatsoever, just because he or she feels like it.

    Sure, it might help the patient, but since when is that the controlling factor? Any medical patient can refuse any medical treatment. Why doesn’t a mental health patient have the same right?

    I think respect for a patient’s rights should trump some therapist’s personal burning desire to hear everything about a patient’s life. Who knows? Maybe the patient is right.

    I recall approaching a therapist for some very specific help. He barely paid attention to my request, and kept urging me to talk about what was “really on my mind.” There was nothing else on my mind, but even if there were, it is none of his business. I refused, and the guy just wouldn’t give it up. So after about five sessions of stalemate, I left. I thought he was very unprofessional. I may never seek therapy again.

  21. You lie to your therapist because you’re ashamed of something, or disgusted, or whatever – and you don’t want them to think less of you.

    A therapist can become one of the most important people in your life. You may feel that he or she will think less of you if you admit to certain things, not understanding that these particular things are likely what you most need to be truthful about.

    It’s human nature. If you went to your mechanic with a dent from, say, hitting a dog, you might lie about how it got there. If you go to the doctor, you might be vague about exactly what’s troubling you, because you don’t want to admit to having VD, erectile dysfunction, or other things. Of course it’s unhelpful to do this, but… we’re all subject to our foibles.

  22. I tried several therapists before I found the one I’ve been seeing for years. Some of them were not compatible or were not professional. One woman actually scoffed when I told her I was having trouble getting out of bed right after I told her I’d been suffering from clinical depression for years. Needless to say, I never saw that therapist again.

    If I have something difficult or embarrassing to say to my therapist, I send it to her in a letter. That way, she has the information and we can discuss it, but I didn’t have to say it to her face.

    Sometimes people lie or play games because they are in a defensive mode. Therapy is hard work and it can feel quite scary to reveal your true feelings. But I absolutely agree that the only way to make progress is to be honest. It’s also about being honest with yourself, about coming to terms with who you are and who you could be.

  23. I lie to my therapist because I don’t want him to send me to the hospital.

    Also to have more control over my medication. I believe therapists aren’t willing to experiment enough.

    Lastly, when I started therapy my parents forced me to participate. Of course I was going to lie; what if my parents found out?

    Mostly, I’m afraid of losing control of my own private thoughts; when you delve that deeply, you feel violated. Lying is a way to maintain some control in the relationship.

  24. I have been in therapy for many years with the same psychiatrist. The issues have been very serious and she has helped me a great deal over this period of time. I sincerely
    believe that lying (by omission) was a very important part of the therapeutic process until I trusted her..The therapist never exists in a vacuum. They are a potential parent, teacher, mentor, spiritual advisor,
    or even tormenter (if that’s what you need to project onto them). What happens after years of therapy with someone you have relied upon and trusted? Sometimes you lie so that the relationship will not end.

  25. I regret NOT lying to my therapist.

    When I filed a grievance against this pompous, man who’d tried to manipulate me into staying under his incompetent care, he used what I told him to make me look “difficult,” and win his case.

    “Your therapist won’t judge you, and they won’t be embarrassed by what you tell them.”
    To me, this is a statement right out of never-never land.

    Therapy damages many people.

  26. I think the lying comes into play when your not fully trusting your therapist, or think your therapist isn’t competent enough to understand or help with your problem. Not all therapist can be seen in a shining light.

    Also, somethings are just personal. It’s hard to tell someone you barely know something very personal or traumatic. It’s difficult and for some may be embarrassing. Therapy isn’t about spilling your guts on the first session, it’s about slowly building a relationship so that you may one day trust that person enough to tell them how your really feeling, and what is really going on.

    Now, some people do lie to their therapist because with certain issues they do not want help. That’s fine, they can’t force you to get help. When your ready to face that problem then you’ll do it. It takes time.

    Yes, I lie to my therapist. Why? Because I don’t want help with certain issues at the moment, and I don’t think it’s any of her business. I’m not comfortable with sharing every waking detail of my life with her. I’m a very private person, and asking me to share my personal thoughts seems noisy.

    To be honest, most therapist seem like they just want to hear my dirty secrets and put me on meds to “cure” me. They want to judge me and tell me what is right for me. I know whats right for me, and they barely know me. An hour weekly isn’t enough to get to know someone.

  27. Why do i *lie* to my therapist? because i’m scared to talk about what’s real, because i don’t really trust him, and am not sure i want to try to trust him, and because it’s easier for me.

    Is it getting me anywhere?
    No.

    Am i going to stop *lying*?
    No, but I’m going to go back to a therapist I saw until my insurance stopped covering her, since insurance has started covering her again.
    The only reason I’m seeing this guy, is because it has been, until now, one of the only options i had.

  28. I wonder if the word lie is being confused with not telling. There may be a reason. I have gone to a local clinic in a small town, and am at times sorry I ever started. I left an extremely abusive relationship,after several years, but had to remain in town for a time, and have been horribly penalized by the abuser, the community in which he lives, and two counselors. I have been dismissed, ignored, accused of behavior that I was not doing, asked to accept further abusive behavior by the abusers ‘friend’, given advice to follow which went against my better judgement and training from what I have read and learned, …..and paid the penalty for it. One of the counselors in a no uncertain way, LIED to me-3 times. The other seems to have NO knowledge of abuse or the harrassment that comes from abusive relationships or leaving one, in their training. Nor does he desire to learn, it would not be good for the abusor ro the town. Perhaps the term incompetent, noncareing, and predatory is a better phrase to use, when it comes to certain counselors not accepting what happened in this small town. I find it better to ask light questions, more as a second to my thoughts outcome-then the heavy healing questions and insights needed which are best left to the another counselor, of which one I sometimes go to, and also to the self healing that comes with time, the reading, the internal qustioning, and the distance from the relationship. Document all abuse and harrassment by others, and NEVER have contact with the abuser, unless it is from a lawyer. Leave the area, make contact with the higher ups in the community, and ALWAYS come from a position of absolute strength,ie the lawyer,judge, police, because the abuser is most certainly trying to take you down-no matter where, what or who, it takes.

  29. “Therapists won’t judge you” – are you completely kidding me? Why? Are they robots? Are they super human? Of course therapists judge – they express this judgemental behavior thru words, body language and sighs. Therapists are human – they have all the flaws of human nature – including predatory, unethical and dishonest behaviors. I feel sorry for the client who goes to therapy and just happens to remind the therapist of someone in their own past – haha – it’s a clown show – it’s up to the client to diplomatically end the session.
    This happens much much more often than society would like to acknowledge.

  30. they could just be trying to get info for their parents, just like me and my therapist

  31. Among chronic pain,or CP, patients , pyschology tends not to be taken seriously. This is because all the grandiouse claims your profession makes in regards to life with CP. Info so patently false tends to go over badly with CP patients trying to sift through what works & what doesn’t. Your total lack of understanding that patients would take your profession as less than serious uses the same faulty thinking always used to protect disfunctional institutions. As a CP suffer who’s fully explored what mental health pros have to offer, I can safely say that your sincerity is either based in ignorance or cynical. Your profession is they only one that can condemn negative feedback as the lies of the mentally ill. I was diagnosed with somataform disorder when I really had a severe spinal disease. Even after this correction, therapist would neatly discount my anger towards their profession. It is at this point, if you are sane and rational, that you learn the soft talk the therapist sells you is simply a more polite version of the free market competing for your cash. This is the reason therapy will never recover it’s former respect unless it is made more accountable. Within our economic system, nothing can be taken on faith; your methods must be closer to the bloodwork done by docs;easily verifiable. Anything less and you will lose the regard of the public.

  32. I tell my clients, when needed or appropriate, it isn’t so much that they lie to me, it is whether they lie to themselves.

  33. I think the number one reason that people lie or omit things from their therapist is that they are afraid of how they will react. This is particularly true with self-harm behavior and/or thoughts. People who cut or have suicidal thoughts often don’t tell their therapists right off the bat or even after working with them for a while, because they are afraid that the therapist will commit them. The case it’s even stickier with teens, who don’t want their parents knowing about certain things.

    Also, it’s hard to tell a therapist that you don’t like what they are doing or that you are getting worse and worse, because it tends to make them feel bad.

    Please don’t blame the victim.

  34. I have been seeing a therapist since I was in the 2nd grade, and I have still not told her everything. I have lied about relationships because I am struggling with my feelings toward people of the same gender. I am extremely religious, and my religion looks down on homosexuals. I am struggling with telling my therapist this because the issue comes and goes. I do not want to tell my therapist something that I will not think about in an other year or two. She might bring it up in future conversations while I am avoiding the topic. I hate that I can’t trust my therapist but I just cannot bring myself to trust her.

  35. I am not a therapist but have seen several. It takes a long time to get to know your therapist. One therapist had me sign a contract that promised one more visit when I decided to quit. That was coercive and forced me to stay because I did not want to go in for the face-off. Eventually I was released. At this particular place I brought up a delicate subject; it felt delicate to me. And they seemed to want tear in at it and shred me to pieces. Of course I was going to protect myself.

    Really, do you expect patients to walk in and jump on board in your all knowing presence? Thank God that you are not my therapist and that I found a patient one with whom I was able stick with and who after two years I am just now feeling safe enough to share some truths . She understands when I dodge and duck. And she understands half-truths and things that I do not bring into session. Because she believes in some process and that clients pace their own treatment.

    Because if I lie I am shorting myself. It was hurtful to hear you say that lying clients waste their therapist’s time. Some things are not possible to simply walk into a room and blurt out. Or sometimes your just not sure and have to keep it tucked away.

    If you like, I can forward the school that she went to. Maybe you could learn
    something.

    Going to a therapist is like having a gaping wound in your abdomen. You have kept yourself alive by containing the abdominal contents with your hands. You can’t do much else because if you moved your hands your guts would come spilling out and you could die. The problem is that this has been your life-long strategy to living. Now you want some help but sill terrified to move your hands away because though it is not ideal, it has been working. Now you want me to just walk in, move my hands and watch my guts spill to the floor? And then I have to HOPE that you know what you are doing. Really?

    • Thanks Val for posting this reply. I totally agree with what you said and I wouldn’t be able to describe it as well as you did.

      I would just add that sometimes you are not ready to talk about things because you are scared of your own judgement and you reflect this on to your therapist.

      I would also add that there is a lot of judgement into this article. Therapy works well when a good dose of humility is used by either the therapist and the patient.

  36. I’m a little offended over the “lie” designation for withholding information. The therapist-client relationship is a dynamic process that requires a lot of trust, and there are therapists out there that are NOT good at their jobs, just like every other profession.

    I come from an abusive family, and didn’t discuss this with anyone for a long time, nor was I able to go through counselling when I was younger. The first therapist I saw was beyond incompetent, and I didn’t discuss ANYTHING of importance with him because I felt so judged. The second therapist I saw it took me a long time to open up to fully.

    When you’ve gone a long time without needed counselling, there can be a plethora of issues you need to address. Eating disorders, relaying abuse histories you’re ashamed of, sharing things you’re not proud of, depression, anxiety, phobias, dissociation, abandonment issues, the consequences of prolonged self-defeating behaviours and a lack of self-respect.

    Plus, you may have the overwhelming fear of being rejected by the therapist, disliked, and judged, which for someone who might not have a lot of supports is terrifying. Furthermore, being labelled, having stigma attached to yourself, being given a prognosis of having a “permanent” personality defect that you will never be able to correct are all real and genuine fears a client might have.

    I’m just trying to say that I think “lying” is a very harsh term for witholding personal and sensitive information from your therapist. Everyone opens up at a different pace, and as long as you’re making progress and understand that your counselor can only help you with the information you’ve provided, I don’t see what the problem is. Furthermore if you walk into a therapist’s office and spill everything immediately, you risk overwhelming the therapist, failing to provide the context needed for the therapist to understand what you’ve just shared, and risk not being believed by your therapist.

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