Patient: In therapy, what am I even allowed to say? I’m kind of nervous about it. Do I really open up or what?
Therapist: A part of talking openly in therapy means getting into trusting somebody and learning how to, “okay, can I really open up to this person?” So that’s part one. Part two is we want to know as much as possible about what you think and feel because what you think and feel is kind of the data of therapy. What’s your life look like now? What things do you feel like you’re doing well with? What are your challenges? How have you faced challenges in the past? We want to get as much information about you as possible because all of that’s going to inform the dialogue between you and the therapist and the things that you can do to improve your life. Anything should be on the table. Any kind of discussion, how you feel about yourself, your family, your life, your career, your relationships. How you feel about working with this therapist can be part of the conversation because you want to be able to say, “Hey, that made me uncomfortable. Hey, I wasn’t sure if I should bring this up. Hey, is this an okay topic? Hey, I’m not sure this is helping.” All those are valid questions. It should be as open of a dialogue as possible, but just keep in mind that that takes time to develop.