Updated: Mar 24, 2020
1. Does my therapist judge me for what I'm sharing in session?
Definetly not! Trust me, a good therapist has heard it, seen it, or done it all. There's not much you can say that they haven't come across and their job is to listen and support you, not judge. If you find yourself feeling insecure or uncomfortable around your therapist, bring it up in session! A healthy therapist won't take this personally and it can actually help your progress in therapy to address discomfort directly in a safe space.
2. I know my information should be kept safe but does my therapist still talk about me?
The only time your therapist would talk about you outside of session is if you have given them permission to share information with another provider such as your psychiatrist or PCP, or if they are working with a supervisor to improve their skills. Even in supervision all of your identifying information will be kept out of the conversation and they will just focus on their therapeutic techniques.
3. Do therapist go around diagnosing everyone?
I wondered that when I started in graduate school- you have all of this information at your disposal, how do you keep from thinking that way all the time! I learned pretty quickly that your friends and family don't appreciate being "psychoanalyzed" and that diagnoses really only serve two functions. They provide a code that insurance companies use to decide if they want to pay for your therapy, and they provide some structure and common language to discuss a set of behaviors or symptoms. Therapists who choose not to contract with insurance companies don't need to diagnose which allows them to provide more holistic care and to help dismantle internalized stigma caused by diagnoses.
4. Am I the only one sharing my deepest darkest information in therapy?
Of course not, though it's understandable why you might feel that way. Sharing in a therapeutic environment is unlike any other conversation. People share more honestly and deeper than they would with friends or family. That's why it's a great place to work through hard stuff. Once people have developed a report, or comfort level with their therapist, they are more free to discuss personal thoughts and feelings and to work through fears. Don't worry your therapist will think you're oversharing- that's what we're here for.
5. Is it weird just listening to people talk all day? Should I feel bad not asking about them?
The nature of a therapeutic relationship is one sided, that's what helps keep therapy all about you. Imagine if your therapist unloaded all of their problems onto you! It would be hard to get your needs met if you're worrying about your therapists problems. This is another reason going to therapy is more beneficial that talking with friends- we are here to listen and work on your goals. Most healthy therapists have their own therapist that they can share with and work through problems that may come up, so don't worry they don't have anyone to talk to. Part of being healthy is having a full support system outside of your work life and therapists are no different.
6. What do you wish clients would do more of?
Our job as therapists is to meet clients where they are. Some people come in ready to do the work, and others come in feeling guarded and resistant. There's no "right" way or time to do therapy, but trying to come in with an open mind and a willingness to share honestly goes a long way. Being open to taking suggestions and following through with using new skills in your everyday life will benefit your progress immensely.