The first time I was in therapy, it took me almost six months to be able to talk to about the deep, personal, and raw trauma that I had never told a soul about. I struggled for a long time before that.
When we started talking about things that were difficult for me, I always pulled away and shut down-I rejected anything that had to do with opening up about the pain.
I ended up trying a few different therapists. Unfortunately, some weren’t the best fit and ended up pushing me back in my progress. Soon I was right back to where I started.
Today, I am here. Sitting on the couch across from my new therapist; racing thoughts, pounding heart, bouncing legs, unable to speak. How can I trust this new person with my deepest and darkest thoughts?
If I’m being honest, I didn’t. I barely talked for the first 9 sessions. I had anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and flashbacks during the sessions. But this therapist was different. They were patient with me as I went through it all. I’ve been seeing them for close to three months and now I’ll talk for the entire session.
Through those three months of sitting in silence, I realized that my therapist truly does care about helping me through this. Even in my silence, they recognized my pain. I learned to trust them more over time because of the fact that they always try to hear me first. Silence is okay for some. For others, it might make them uncomfortable. Everyone confronts their struggles differently, and that’s okay.
Opening up to a therapist can be hard. Especially if you’re sharing your deepest thoughts with someone who is basically a stranger. It can be extremely challenging. But there are some things that can help in order to get through those moments where we doubt trust in our therapy or our therapist:
– Remember, your therapist is there to help you. They do want to help you. Even though it’s their profession, they wouldn’t be where they are today if they didn’t want to help you.
– They care. Again, they wouldn’t be where they are right now if they didn’t care. They don’t want to see anything happen to you at all.
– They respect you. Everything is on your terms. You are leading. They care about what you say and want to help- but remember, it is okay not to feel comfortable sharing right away and that is why building trust with your therapist in small steps is super important.
Finding a therapist you can trust can be difficult. Sometimes it takes many misunderstandings, heartbreaks, and breakdowns in order to find the right one, but when I found the therapist that “got” me, I felt heard and understood unlike anything before. That, to me, is one of the best things to feel and see.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They will provide you with resources and someone that is always willing to listen.