Therapy is generally a safe space where you may feel comfortable telling your thoughts and feelings on a wide variety of topics to your therapist. Still, there may be a few things it can be best to avoid saying or doing during your first therapy session. For instance, it may be in your best interest not to tell your therapist lies or half-truths or to only talk about the facts of a situation without also discussing your feelings.
Demanding prescription medication, believing it’s the therapist’s job to “cure” you, explaining every detail of your day, and failing to complete assigned homework may also be counterproductive to your therapy journey. Knowing what not to say to your therapist is an important part of the counseling process.
Don’t Speak Only About The Facts
People can experience the same situation and have different responses to it. That means if you’re only telling the facts of a past situation or story with your therapist, they may not be getting the full picture. It may be helpful to include other important details connected to events, like your feelings. This may help your therapist get a better understanding of the event and you can continue to build on from your previous session.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable discussing certain aspects of a situation with your therapist, that can be normal. Showcasing emotions or discussing traumatic events may be difficult. It may be okay to tell an experience with your therapist and let them know that you’re unsure how to feel about it. This may open the door for them to talk to you about it and for you to explore your feelings. It can also be okay for you to ask your therapist to avoid exploring a subject for a certain amount of time. Healing and self reflection should generally happen at a pace you are comfortable with.
Don’t Ask For A Prescription
Many medications can be prescribed to help people with mental health challenges. However, medication may not be the right solution for everyone. If you’re only seeing a therapist to get a prescription, you’re likely missing out on the true benefits of therapy, and you may not be able to get the medication you’re after.
One of the things you should never do is take new medication without consulting your doctors.
Even if medication can be an effective form of treatment for the challenges that you’re experiencing, it’s often helpful to use it along with therapy. The American Psychological Association explains that different combinations of treatment can work for different people, so it’s usually important to discuss your options with a mental health professional.
Don’t Expect Them To Cure You
Some people may have been taught the misconception that it’s the job of a therapist to “fix” each patient. While the goal is usually for each person to make progress and experience growth, this does not generally mean that they were “broken” to start with.
In general, everyone has areas of life where they can use help and guidance from time to time. There may be things that people have difficulty coping with, such as symptoms of anxiety, and processing on their own. A therapist may help them accomplish this and aid in the process of self-discovery.
If you expect your therapist to be able to solve all your problems for you, you may end up disappointed, as this isn’t usually how therapy works. During your therapy session, you’re usually the one that’s doing the work. This may be true in other session types as well, like couples counseling.
The therapist may know the right questions to ask to help you discover things about yourself, but they’re typically not able to do the work for you. If you’re waiting for your therapist to fix you, then you’re likely missing the main purpose of your previous sessions. The therapist is usually there to help you find the right answers, assess solutions for yourself, and feel empowered.
Don’t Explain Every Detail Of The Day
It can be important to note that building a trusting relationship with your therapist can be valuable. Small talk and general conversation may be integral parts of this process. However, some people may use small talk to avoid discussing the issues that brought them to therapy. When considering what you should never tell your therapist, there isn't much you should be afraid to talk about.
Sometimes, when someone overshares about their personal life, it’s because they are avoiding getting to the root cause of why they are seeing the therapist in the first place.
Sometimes, a question that your therapist asks may get you talking about something that seems off-subject during therapy but does connect emotionally for you. If you feel that what you’re talking about seems unrelated but was triggered by the therapist, you might continue exploring that avenue.
However, if you’re simply telling the same details of something that you’ve told them many times, you could ask yourself if you’re avoiding getting to the root of the problem. Your therapist generally only knows what you’re willing to tell them.
Don’t Skip Assignments
While your therapist might not call it “homework,” there will likely be times when your therapist asks you to try different things during the week between your therapy sessions. Some therapists choose to include this homework in their final thoughts at the end of each session.
Depending on their therapy process, this may be a regular activity your therapist asks for not only you but other clients as well. They may seem strange to you or feel an incredibly uncomfortable because it may not be something you’re used to, but there’s usually a reason why they asked you to try this homework.
Talk To A Therapist Through An Online Therapy Platform
Therapy can be an excellent way to address a variety of mental health concerns, but sometimes, traditional in-office therapy isn’t easy to fit into your schedule. You may find that the convenience of online therapy makes it simpler for you to make time for regular therapy sessions.
Most online therapy adheres to the same rules as other conversations you may have with a therapist in-person but from the comfort of your own home.
As this study explains, online therapy can be as effective as traditional therapy in treating many mental health disorders. If you believe you’d benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional, please don’t hesitate to get the help you deserve.
Therapy can take place in the comfort of your own home, not just in a therapist's office. While family members may offer unsolicited advice, they usually don’t have the training of a professional counselor. Finding the right therapist may help you with any mental health condition you are experiencing.
While there can be many subjects or maybe one particular topic you feel comfortable discussing in therapy, there may also be a few things that could be counterproductive to your mental health goals. For instance, you may wish to avoid saying and doing the following things during therapy:
Lying to your therapist or telling half-truths
Discussing the facts of a situation without delving into your related emotions
Asking for prescription medication without being willing to put in the work in therapy
Believing your therapist can and will “cure” you
Thinking about what you should never tell your therapist and keeping that to yourself
Talking about every detail of your day to avoid discussing uncomfortable topics
Not completing homework assignments your therapist has assigned you
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about what you should never tell your therapist.
What should you not tell a therapist during a session?
You should generally never tell your therapist something that may harm them, such as calling them names or yelling at them. Threats and romantic advances are usually not appropriate in a therapy setting, either. These topics can make your therapist feel uncomfortable and are typically not conducive to your therapeutic relationship. However, you may tell your therapist many other things regarding your thoughts and feelings. Remember, therapists can usually only break information when your life or another person’s life is in imminent danger.
Is it okay to not tell your counselor everything?
A therapist’s job is generally to help you with whatever you want help with during your therapy sessions. You don’t typically need permission to say or not to say something. Therapy can be a safe space to discuss the topics you wish to discuss, and if you’re not ready to tell everything yet, it may be best to wait until you’ve established trust and feel ready to talk.
Can you tell a counselor too much about your life?
A licensed therapist has usually been trained to keep the information of their clients. For example, they can’t typically tell other people what your diagnosis is without your consent. If you are expressing emotions during therapy about a relationship in your life, your therapist generally can’t tell that person what you said.
However, if you have emotions with your therapist related to a plan to hurt yourself* or someone else, a good therapist may report it to the appropriate crisis services. If you are a minor, clients’ rights may be different, depending on where you live. Some therapists can speak to a minor’s family about what they tell during therapy sessions.
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