Please realize you do not need to completely trust your therapist to find healing.
Often people have had a lot of damage in the past due to trauma or past betrayal and you have learned that people cannot be trusted. Do not feel that you cannot do therapy. The amount of trust you need is the amount that it takes to do the work. It is absolutely fine to hold parts of yourself back until the relationship you have with your therapist develops. If at the beginning all you feel comfortable with is the intake, discussion of goals and learning skills, that is fine. The trust can be built as the therapist shows his/her care for you and the relationship develops.
Often a Lack of Trust Makes Sense
For some people the idea of an expectation of trust in the therapist is insane. If authority figures in your life have proven over and over again that they can’t be trusted, it is normal to not trust the therapist initially. Why on earth would you trust a person you never met, when the people that you should have been able to trust either betrayed you, proved unreliable or neglected you? In those situations, I recommend being honest with your therapist that you have trouble trusting and mentioning the direction that you feel okay going in (for example: focusing on skills, psychoeducation, structured therapeutic work, focusing on a current situation at work, etc.).
Enough Trust to do the Work
At the end of the day, a client needs to be able to work with the therapist. We can make adjustments for the wounds of the past. That is part of respecting the client and accepting where the client is. It is always okay, in fact, it is important, to tell your therapist that you don’t want to go to a certain place, do something, or deal with a certain part of your past.
Even for trauma processing, you do not need to reveal details about past trauma. With EMDR, these are the things we need to do processing (beyond some of the prep work to make sure you have the resources to deal with trauma flare-ups):
- Current symptom, frustration, or limitation and the longing/missing need associated with that
- Recent times when that longing/missing need wasn’t fulfilled
- What the worst part of it is?
- Be able to rate it on a scale of 0-10
- A negative cognition (usually an “I am”) statement
- Past memories of something similar (only mention event “like a book title” and age)
- Worst part of the memory
- A positive cognition of what you would prefer to believe (usually an “I am” statement)
- What emotion you are feeling?
- Identification of the location of a body sensation
Trust can be an important part of a relationship but when it comes to a relationship between a client and their therapist. However, when the question “How much trust do I need to find success in therapy?” comes up. The truth is that there only needs to be enough trust to do the work. That trust may be in the techniques the person uses or that their experience and expertise may enable them to help you. A therapist can work with trust issues if you still can feel like you can do the work.
Related Blog Posts: