What Your Therapist Won’t Say: Keeping it Confidential

Can you keep a secret?  For many people, keeping something confidential can be quite difficult.  Think back – was there ever a time when someone confided in you and you had a hard time keeping it private?  Or how about a time when you trusted a close friend or family member with a secret of your own, only to discover that your secret had been revealed?  Having your confidences exposed in this way can be devastating.  It can leave you feeling embarrassed, hurt, and betrayed.  Sadly, some people make the decision not to trust anyone ever again.  That decision may leave you feeling protected, but you also end up feeling isolated.  Therapy offers you the chance to try trusting again.  Because your confidences are protected legally and ethically, anything you discuss with your therapist will stay between you.  Your secrets ARE safe here and this is very valuable and healing on many different levels.

When you begin therapy here at Couples Therapy Center of NJ you will sign a ‘Consent to Treat’ form.  This simple form spells out the legal mandate regarding patient confidentiality – but in reality, it is much more.  Client confidentiality is not simply an ethical and legal mandate, but it is an emotional pact you are making with your therapist.  This pact has VAST healing potential in and of itself and lays the foundation of trust which your relationship with your therapist is built upon.  From here, your sense of safety will grow and your healing can begin.

For some of you, this confidentiality clause marks the first time someone has agreed to keep private what you tell him/her and you know they will actually do it!  This is not just because your therapist is bound ethically and legally to keep your confidences, but also because your therapist WANTS to protect your privacy.  Your therapist here at Couples Therapy Center of NJ knows that you deserve to feel safe and protected.  So many of us have not had that in our past.

A good therapist truly longs to help you and to give you new, positive experiences of being in relationships.  Keeping your confidences is one way to do that.  There ARE people in the world who are safe and trustworthy and we want to be that person for you.  It’s possible that your therapist here may even be the FIRST person in your world you grow to trust and feel safe with.

The safety and trust you begin to develop with your therapist will also touch you on a deeper level.  It’s not just that your therapist will keep what you tell her/him private, but that she/he will still accept you, even knowing about your deeper thoughts and feelings.  If you’re like most people, you have things about yourself that you don’t like or accept.  Most people feel shame or embarrassment about some aspect of their emotional world, their thoughts and fantasies, or their bodies.  When we feel shame, we tend to keep those parts of ourselves hidden from the world because we’re convinced that others won’t like them either.  We believe that others would reject us if they knew certain things about us.

Many times we don’t feel safe telling someone else what is going on inside of us because we fear we’ll be mocked or talked about.  We may not even feel comfortable telling our spouse!  Instead of letting our true self shine through, we put up a façade and show others little of our true selves.  Therapy gives us a chance to share our real self, slowly, step by step.

With a therapist, one can slowly test the waters.  You can tell your therapist one smaller aspect about yourself to see how the therapist reacts.  When your therapist reacts with calm and understanding, you will learn that this part of you is accepted by another.  It’s a huge relief to be accepted by someone who comes to know you more deeply.  Now these areas of shame inside can begin to heal.  The confidentiality, safety, and trust between a client/couple and therapist can start the healing process.  From this beginning, couples will grow and heal until they, too, create a cocoon of safety and trust where they can share their innermost selves with one another.

To schedule an appointment to learn more about how feeling gratitude for your partner can greatly improve your relationship, call 908-246-3074 or email mkeller@couplestherapycenterofnj.com

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