How do you open up to your therapist?

How do you talk about trauma?

How do you talk about childhood sexual abuse?  Or childhood abuse? Or rape at any age – childhood or adult? Or any type of crime that has been committed against you?

It is important to be open with you counselor, I understand that.  I have an absolutely amazing therapist!  She makes me feel comfortable and I feel like she would understand and believe what I told her.

I do not know how to talk to her though.  I have written a few things, but even with that, it is hard.  I cannot go into details about things.  Writing or saying things just makes it real.  I don’t want it to be real.  I know it is real though – and I just want it to all go away.  It won’t though, and it haunts me, and until I deal with it — I am always going to feel bad and have these flashbacks and nightmares and want to hurt myself and die as much as I do.  I know I have bipolar and borderline personality along with my PTSD.  But I know if I deal with this PTSD, my symptoms will go down much more.

How does everyone else talk about their traumas?  Or just talk in general?  How do you let our your feelings, your frustrations, your thoughts?  I’m so scared to.  I want to.  I think about it over and over in my head because therapy.  All week sometimes.  I go in there with what I want to say.  I have rehearsed it in my mind.  Then, when I want to say it, my mouth can’t.  It is like it is all jumbled up.

I have gotten better about opening up.  But not about much.  It is never going to go away unless I talk.  I know that.  She has told me.  I believe her.  I just don’t know how to.  This is the first time I have ever face this stuff in therapy.  I have told her more than I have told anyone else.  I have gotten a lot out, but there is so much more.

So, how do you all do it?  How do you talk in therapy?  If you have been through abuse, sexual abuse, rape – anything like that – how do have you been able to talk about it?  Even if you haven’t been through any type of abuse — how do you talk in therapy, how do you let out your emotions?

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28 thoughts on “How do you open up to your therapist?”

  1. I wish I had the answers for you, but I don’t. I am stuck like you and I’m sorry you’re stuck because it sucks. It sucks so bad. And it hurts too.
    I know what it’s like to not be able to get it out. How you open your mouth but your mind is empty.
    And then when you leave there are so many words. But it’s too late. And then you can’t stop thinking them and it’s torture.
    I’m sorry you are facing this. I wish I could make it better. I wish I had the answers.
    Take care of you, okay?

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  2. Last time I was at the therapist I told her that I had this problem and she helped to get me started. I have been lying to therapists for a long time and then blame them for me not getting anything out of the sessions. Now that is INSANITY. I have to remind myself that they are trying to help me, that they are not the enemy. It is also a matter of trust in my opinion, some are better than others at gaining my trust and allowing me to open up.

    Sorry if I am rambling, not sure if this helps or not but wanted to share 🙂

    Have a good day

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  3. Thanks for the reply. I am sorry that you are stuck like I am. It is so hard! I hope that you are able to get through it all too. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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  4. You aren’t rambling! Yeah my therapist is trying really hard to get it out of me and help me and I trust her tons. I just am scared I guess 😦 I just need to take that first step – like bungee jumping or skydiving. That first step off is the hard part and then “supposedly” it is easy or easier or you don’t mind doing it again from there for most people. I just have to take that leap of faith. I see her Friday, I will see how well I do. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

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  5. I write a lot of emails to my therapist. We talk a lot about talking. 🙂 We talk around the words, the details, the feelings. I hide my face a lot, sometimes I turn around I don’t have any magic formula. I know having the right therapist is part of the formula, though. I have gotten much farther in therapy and shared more than I ever have in my life this time around in therapy. It’s hard, and uncomfortable. The more I share, the more I see that I don’t get the reaction I expect, and I am met with kindness and understanding. So the less embarrassed I am the next I talk about something.

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  6. hmm, maybe if I kind of look away or something. That might be a good idea. I don’t know how she would feel about it. But I do feel like ashamed and stuff so it is hard to talk about – so maybe it would be less hard if I wasn’t actually facing her? Or maybe just sitting further away. She has a couple spots in her office and I always choose to sit near her desk, maybe I should just pick somewhere else further away. Thanks for those suggestions, they got me thinking about some things!!

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  7. My therapist told me I could turn around, ask her to turn around, have the lights off, whatever I wanted. She said I was the boss, completely in comtrol. She said that her job is to help me, witness my story, teach me, make me think in new ways, show me that people can understand, to provide containment, and to help me not get too upset/lost in a memory/to be able to return to my “thinking self”. I don’t know if that helps, or not.

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  8. It definitely helps. I see mine at the end of this week, so I am going to probably sit further away and maybe try to turn a different direction if she is ok with it. I tend to dissociate sometimes though, so I don’t know if she will really want that, but I am sure she will be willing to try it., Thanks again so much!!!

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  9. I’m new to therapy and I have never been through anything traumatic, but I do understand not being able to talk.

    I too, don’t have any answers, but just know I am thinking of you and I hope you find away to let everything out. I do think once you get going it will be easier. Good luck!

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  10. I dissociate quite frequently, dissociation is kind of my “normal”. I have a deal with my therapist that I will be honest with her when I’m not “there”, so she can help me come back. She also says that sometime we protect ourselves through dissociation when telling a memory, and that telling a memory one time is only a piece of the healing– the memory will come up again and again through therapy.

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  11. Yeah, when I dissociate I don’t really realize I do though…like I kind of just zone out. She has to actually start making a ton of noise to bring me out of it. That is the only reason why I am not sure she would want me to not face her, because I think it would be harder for her to bring me out of it. And she wouldn’t be able to tell necessarily as quickly cause if she was talking to me she would think I was just listening if I was not really there. But I don’t know. Ill just see what she says. I am sure she will be open to trying it out… probably anything to get me open up more!

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  12. Marie:

    One of the issues I discovered about myself is that I am NOT a good communicator (at least verbally). I tended to be very passive-aggressive, bottle up my emotions and not say what I am really thinking.

    So what has helped me is writing. My therapist recommended that as concerns, emotions, insights or questions popped into my head – I wrote it down. i would think bring everything I had documented to my next session and show her, giving her points of discussion.

    This blog is part of my therapy (my next session I had planned giving her a link to my blog). I am not sure if this helps but this is something that worked for me. If I was having trouble verbalizing what has been going on, by writing it I still had an outlet to get issues out in the open.

    Take care!

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  13. Thanks! I do write some, but I still feel like I need and want to share more. I just need to get more out to really get to the core of it all and heal completely. It is just still hard to even write about it. But I am determined to get more out at the end of this week when I see her, so I guess I will see how it goes. 🙂

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  14. Good luck, will be praying for ya. You are right, it is like getting into a pool, once you are in, the water is fine. Best way to get in, just jump in. Once the initial shock wears off, it feels SOOO good.

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  15. Sorry to hear you are feeling stuck, Marie. I know that it does take me a bit every week to start talking, my psych has to do a lot of prying. But, strange as it is, once he hits a “nerve” I don’t stop talking!
    You will find what way of communication with your therapist works for you and I promise it will help. Good luck with the appointment and be sure to let us know how you do!

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  16. Marie,

    It’s hard to talk about the abuse, it took me a long time to open up – to feel safe enough to spill it all … I would share bits and pieces, but no details; nothing that made me feel connected to the past – nothing that dredged up memories that could cause me emotional pain or distress in the present.

    I honestly don’t know what triggered my unburdening – but one day in therapy with an awesome counselor, my psychiatrist and my wife, I just started talking and didn’t stop …

    When it was over, I felt lighter than I ever had. And the information needed to make accurate diagnosis’ was on the table and they just connected the dots for me, although at that point I was able to see it all for myself clear as day.

    Again, it isn’t easy to talk about the abuse, but once you do, you’ll probably be very glad you did.

    Tim

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  17. What’s helped me the most was to talk about trauma stuff when it was related to what was going on with me in the present. I found it was often destructive to talk about trauma just for the sake of talking about trauma–it just retraumatized me.

    But a lot of times, I’d know I was reacting more strongly to something in the present than the situation merited. I had this therapist who would ask me, “What does this remind you of?” When I was reacting so deeply, it was always because it reminded me of something traumatic from my past. I spend a lot of my life living in emotional flashbacks, but talking about what trauma I was being reminded of really helped me in therapy.

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  18. Thanks. Perhaps it will all just flow out when the time is right. When I finally just need to get it all out. Maybe I am just completely at that point yet. I kind of feel like this week might be the week, but I guess I will see when I get there.

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  19. That is good to know. I think that has actually been the best way that I have been able to talk about things too, when it has been casually brought up based on what is going on with my life currently. Maybe I should just keep continuing that route… sometimes I just keep feeling like I need to get more out, sooner. There is just this deep want to let it all out. But perhaps it is best to just let it out as it comes. Oh so much to think about! Thanks for the comment!

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  20. You will be able to talk about things when the time is right. Be patient with yourself… and believe it or not… when I was in therapy, I wasn’t the spiritual person I am today; however, I did pray even though I didn’t think God was there at the time. Even when you feel alone… you aren’t… God is right there… and trust me… He has carried you this far… maybe without you knowing it… but He has… You are taking great first steps… you are reaching out and talking to us 🙂

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