Feeling ashamed in Therapy
Many people are embarrassed to admit to their friends and families that they are unhappy and struggling. Often people try to deal with their issues on their own as they worry they might look weak, or pathetic, but this isn’t true and keeping it inside is not the best option. Therapy isn’t just reserved for abuse survivors or individuals with serious mental health issues. Although it is very helpful for those people, it is also a brilliant way to deal with more everyday troubles like relationship problems, bereavement and stress management.
With 1 in every 5 British people having contacted a therapist in the past, you would think that choosing to go for therapy would be easy but some people still see it as taboo. Sometimes contacting a therapist can seem daunting and the fear of opening up to a stranger can prevent people from getting the support they need. Even when in therapy some people struggle to be completely open and honest as they feel ashamed of their past, or of their feelings. It’s important to remember that if you are in therapy, it is because another person or an event has made you no longer feel positive about yourself and this is nothing to be ashamed of.
If you want your therapy to be open and successful, you need to beat the feeling of shame. Feeling ashamed in therapy can prevent you from sharing vital information and make it harder to share your true feelings rather than propel you forwards as therapy should. Use the following tips to help expel the shame that surrounds your therapy.
Get Over Your Guilt
Shame can often be attached to feelings of guilt. You may be too ashamed to be completely honest with your therapist about your past actions and behaviour as you feel guilty for them. However, the fact you feel regret speaks volumes about how much you have developed and learned from your past. Therapy is meant to help you to grow and make realisations, so by overcoming your guilt and letting go of shame you can have successful productive sessions with your therapist.
If you are a survivor of abuse you may feel guilty that you allowed yourself to be abused or not seen sooner that you were involved with a predator. You must remember that abuse is never the survivors’ fault and by allowing yourself to feel guilty the abuser still has power over your life.
Letting go of any guilt and shame and being honest in therapy will allow for healing to take place.
If you struggle to share your feelings in therapy, it could be down to you subconsciously thinking that you don’t deserve to be happy or that your issues are too big to be resolved. If that is the case, you need to develop an inner compassion. This means recognizing that we all have flaws, make mistakes and also suffer at the hands of others. This can increase your self-acceptance and happiness, regardless of what situation has made you seek a therapist.
By developing an inner dialogue that is compassionate and positive, you can tackle any negative voices that oppress and shame you. This includes creating a voice with a vocabulary that reflects self-acceptance and forgiveness, especially for times when you are feeling ashamed and low. You need to ignore and challenge negative voices to avoid feeling ashamed in therapy and to start recovering.
Meditate To Express Negative Thoughts
Prior to therapy, meditation can be a powerful strategy to help you to share your feelings more freely. If you are already feeling depressed or anxious before your session, then it can be even harder to articulate your emotions. You may feel plagued by fear of judgement and unsure if you want to share your intimate feelings. By taking time to calm yourself beforehand and refocus your attention on your therapy, it can make it easier for you to talk to your therapist openly and honestly.
You could try listening to relaxing music or lighting scented candles to ease your worries. It can also be helpful to try writing a list of the things you should discuss in session after you have meditated as your mind is clear and you will be able to discuss things that you may have forgotten otherwise.
Remember You Won’t Be Judged
Nobody likes to feel that they are being judged and when you are sharing your inner feelings with a stranger it can be hard to place trust in them. One of the key things to remember is that a therapist isn’t like a friend or a family member. They are bound by confidentiality and work within the guidelines of their ethical guide or framework . Another point to remember is that experienced therapists are likely to have helped other people in situations like your own and they won’t be shocked or disgusted by anything. They will also be able to understand your feelings and help you to recover quicker. Therapists rarely place judgement or think negatively based on what is said in sessions. They are there for you to talk to freely without any fear of repercussions but if you aren’t being honest they won’t be able to help you as effectively.
If you need a therapist that you can speak to shame-free contact me today for effective and personal therapy. I have a wide range of experience from helping people who suffer from depression and anxiety to individuals with relationship issues and abuse problems. I pride myself on creating a safe and supportive space where people feel able to share with me free of judgement and shame.