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How do I open up and talk to therapist?

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Q. During my teens and early 20’s I was in therapy on and off and with several different doctors. I self injured twice – once at 14 and once at 19 – briefly hospitalized both times. On antidepressants for over five years now. Lately life has been becoming increasing difficult. I want to get help. My problem is I have a horrible time trying to make myself talk!! I once saw a psychologist for nearly 2 years and barely spoke to him (bless his heart he tried) I know I need to talk things out. I know i need help. I’m depressed, anxious, and self-injure. It affects my work life and family life.

I’m wondering if you have suggestions to help me get started talking. I HATE opening up. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t want to share my closely guarded secrets or if it’s just nerves or if I fear being judged or a combination. Sometimes i just can’t speak.

How do I open up and talk to therapist?

Answered by on -


Try to think back, probably back to childhood, about what caused you to feel that it is not safe to open up. What message was sent to you that it was not acceptable or safe for you to share your feelings or thoughts with others? Was it that you tried to open to up to your mother or father and you got yelled at? Or that you tried to speak about things that bothered you and got the impression, maybe because that was the message being sent, that no one cared?

Something or some event (perhaps multiple events) gave you the message that it was risky for you to open up. For you, opening up probably makes you feel extremely vulnerable and by remaining unavailable, both literally and figuratively, you are protecting yourself from being hurt. Think back and try to answer the question about what led to this long-running problem; here you will find the root cause of why you are so guarded.

Having said that, even if you know the root cause, this does not necessarily mean the problem will be fixed. You still need to be able to talk during a session with a therapist otherwise, it will be a waste of your time and theirs. Search long and hard for a therapist who you feel comfortable with. Keep searching until you find the right therapist and do not stop until you do. Working with a therapist who you feel comfortable with and who is skilled can make all of the difference. This is the work you will need to do in order to end your depression, anxiety and desire to self-injure. It will not be easy work but taking the easy way out (i.e. not making the effort to find a therapist you can open up to) likely means that you will never overcome these issues. I wish you luck.

How do I open up and talk to therapist?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). How do I open up and talk to therapist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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