Do you need to trust your therapist? We often think of therapists as a blank slate, a person to whom clients simply dump their problems on and walk away “healed”. This isn’t the case, however, especially when it comes to addiction recovery. In order for therapy to work, you must find a therapist you trust and feel comfortable with. So, why is trust between you and your therapist so important when seeking drug treatment in Delaware? Let’s dive in.
First of all, you should know that all therapists are bound by something called “confidentiality”. This means that you can trust your therapist to never reveal anything you mention to them to anybody else at all. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- If you threaten to harm yourself, your therapist must take action to ensure your safety, and,
- If you threaten to harm somebody else, your therapist must inform that person, as well as the police.
Outside of these two exceptions to confidentiality, you can trust your therapist to never speak of anything you have ever revealed to him or her. Understanding this point is important for developing a trusting relationship with your therapist.
When being treated for alcohol or drug addiction, you likely experience internalized shame over your condition. This may mean that:
- You worry about people “finding out” that you’re recovering from an addiction.
- If and when somebody does find out about your addiction, you feel deeply insecure, unworthy, and unlovable. This is shame.
- Due to the acutely painful nature of shame, you may begin to isolate yourself more and more, in order to avoid feeling shame around people who know about your addiction. This isolation, in turn, can lead to loneliness and depression.
These are common experiences for anybody suffering from an addiction, and they are nothing to criticize yourself over. In fact, if you criticize yourself for experiencing shame, or for isolating yourself, you may be making your feelings of shame worse. So, why does shame matter when it comes to therapy? One of the driving healing factors behind a good client-therapist relationship is self-acceptance. It sounds scary and painful, but the only way that your therapist can help you practice self-acceptance– and eventually, self-love– is for you to bring your painful experiences out into the open with him or her.
This means talking about the events, habits, and actions you’re not proud of. Your therapist can help you learn ways to practice self-acceptance for those actions– and self-acceptance is the first step towards changing your habits. In fact, it’s much harder to change a habit you’re ashamed of than it is to change one which you practice self-acceptance towards. However, if you don’t trust your therapist, you’re unlikely to allow them to see the parts of you you’re not proud of. You may be afraid of your therapist judging you, and this increases your shame levels, rather than decreasing them. Therefore, in order to mitigate painful shame and move towards healing unhealthy habits, it is imperative that you find a therapist that you trust.
On that note, it’s important that you develop what’s known as a secure attachment with your therapist– and trust is one of the number one caveats in securely attached relationships. A secure attachment means that you’re open and trusting with your therapist; it means that there is a clear, two-lane road of communication between you. This also means that you fully trust that your therapist will not hurt, abandon, or betray you. Trust is what builds a securely attached relationship between you and your therapist.
Developing a securely attached relationship with your therapist will provide a secure relationship model, which can then inform all of your other relationships in your life. If you tend to experience tumultuous relationships with family members, partners, or friends, your relationship with your therapist can serve as a training ground to teach you the communication skills and behaviors necessary to develop healthier relationships. Healthier relationships, in turn, lead to more positive outcomes when recovering from addiction. When we’re supported by secure relationships with people who love us, we’re more likely to believe in ourselves to overcome our struggles. Bottom line is: it’s imperative that you trust your therapist. Not all therapists will be a perfect fit for you, and that’s okay. However, striving to find one which you trust and feel comfortable opening up to will serve you greatly in your journey to overcoming addiction. Ready to get on the road to recovery? Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 302-842-2390.