How to be more open in Therapy
Through person-centred therapy, I have helped individuals from all sorts of backgrounds and with a diverse range of issues to open up in therapy and talk through their concerns. Life can be challenging and feel incredibly tough at times. No matter who we are, difficulties at work, at home, with illness or bereavement – just to name a few – can take their toll on our mental and emotional health but talking to an experienced professional can make a positive difference and allow us to take steps to move on.
For many people, accepting and embracing that they need the help of a counsellor can be the most challenging step to take. People often feel ashamed that they need professional help to manage their feelings and can feel anxious about how their close family, friends and colleagues would react if they were to find out about their therapy sessions.
It can be particularly challenging if you have a very established career and are used to being in a position of power and not showing any signs of vulnerability. When we hold down a job with a great deal of responsibility and are seen as successful and driven at work, it can be extremely hard to then let our guard down and admit that we are facing personal difficulties. It can seem to be a contradiction of our personality – how can we maintain the strong, professional exterior at work if we are going to open up and talk through our feelings with a counsellor? What you may not be aware of is that many people who seek additional support actually have high-pressure careers and find counselling the perfect outlet.
Talking about your feelings is a necessary process to working through the variety of difficulties that life can throw at you. When you have a powerful and strong image you may want to keep your appearance up and speaking to a counsellor gives you the ability to get the help you need without airing your problems. Here are some thoughts to help you to let your guard down and accept the feelings of vulnerability that may come with your therapy sessions.
How do you know you can trust your counsellor?
A common worry that many professionals experience when trying to let their guard down in therapy are feelings of doubt regarding their counsellor. This is completely normal as they are, after all, a stranger and you may worry that they will discuss your sessions with others behind your back, or secretly judge you. However, this is not the case at all. Counsellors are legally bound to client confidentiality and will not discuss your sessions without your explicit permission to do so. As well as this, they undertake specific training to learn how to create a safe, professional and therapeutic environment. The fact that your counsellor isn’t a close friend can also be very beneficial as they have the ability and experience to offer an unbiased, outside perspective on your life and the difficulties that you face. They understand how to respond professionally and appropriately, and this can help to create an environment that encourages you to open up and share your intimate thoughts and memories fear-free of judgement. By placing trust in your counsellor, you can begin to let down your guard and start opening up in your therapy sessions – this is a fundamental step in your recovery. It is important to know that your therapy sessions do not need to impact on your professional working life – being open in therapy doesn’t mean that you must change your personality or professional conduct at work. In fact, letting your guard down in therapy can help to strengthen your inner confidence and self-belief and have a positive impact on your life.
How can you start to accept feelings of vulnerability?
The term ‘vulnerability’ might make you think of weakness, fear or even betrayal. These are all the feelings that people worry they might experience when they open up about aspects of themselves. However, being vulnerable and open is actually a sign of great strength and courage. Allowing ourselves to experience vulnerability can ultimately allow us to become stronger, happier individuals. Acknowledging our difficulties can be fundamental to accepting ourselves for who we are, and it can give us new insights into life and new-found courage to tackle issues and challenging obstacles that life might put in our way. Therapy is a healing process, and it takes self-examination to begin. Letting our guard down and opening up in therapy to accept feelings of vulnerability can be the first step in your journey to feeling content and at peace with yourself.
No matter what your background is and how you define your personality – no matter how big or insignificant you consider your personal issues to be, there is help out there for you. Take the first step today to opening up and addressing your problems. Get in touch and let me work with you to begin to turn your life around.