From a young woman in the U.S.: Hello. I’ve really been trying to figure out what’s going on with me. I have bad mood swings. I’m talking going from happy to depressed to enraged jn a matter of hours, I have problems with doing things I regret later, among other things. I’ve been to therapy once, and I lied. How do I trust a therapist to help me overcome my problems? How do I let someone in to actually help?

You already know you need help. Now you need to make a decision to trust a therapist enough to help you. That’s right: A decision. There is nothing a therapist can do to win your trust in the first session or even the first few sessions. It’s up to you to make a decision to give it an honest try and evaluate as you go along.  A good place to start your treatment is to discuss your trust issues with the therapist.

Therapy is a collaboration between therapist and client. Both need to be committed to the work. Both need to be honest. And both need to be patient.

The quality of the therapy is very dependent on how honest you are. A therapist only has your report of your own feelings and behavior to go on. You may find that you need to explain something a few times before the therapist gets it. The therapist may make some mistakes as he or she tries to understand how you are feeling. The back and forth between you and your therapist – clarifying and making guesses and thinking about suggestions – is what the “talking cure” is all about.

Do remember that not all therapists are alike. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone, do think about whether that therapist is a good “fit” for you. Different therapists have different training, different experience, and different personalities. You may have to interview more than a couple to find the person you feel most able to relate to.

I hope you will take a deep breath and do your very best to give therapy an honest try. You deserve the help.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie