Let me address the question many people wonder when they are in counseling…Is my therapist judging me? It is natural to ponder what is going on in the mind of your therapist when you reveal an affair or discuss substance use. Maybe you thought you saw their mouth briefly twist into a frown or they furrow their brow disapprovingly as they jotted down a note. Now, you are feeling judged or like you should hold back in sessions.
If you haven’t even made it that far, you may be sitting in a session wondering if you should discuss that secret tearing you apart. You might feel like no one will understand and that a counselor might think you as a bad person. Maybe you want to unload all of those overwhelming thoughts, but you are terrified of what your therapist might think of you. If you are feeling or thinking these things, counseling is the best place for you to be. Here’s why.
Firstly, many counselors come into the profession because of their own pasts. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term “wounded healer” to refer to those that feel compelled to help others because they themselves have been wounded. Chances are, your counselor, at some point in their life, has also sat across from a therapist and wondered if they could truly share everything they wanted to say. This job centers on the ability to create a trusting and respectful rapport to help clients better their lives. If a client feels judged or as if they cannot trust their therapist, the counseling will not work and every counselor understands this. Our job is to create unconditional positive regard so clients have the space and trust to reveal even the deepest of secrets. This unconditional positive regard means counselors bring respect to every client and understand that scolding, judgment, and blame do not motivate people, nor do they help the counseling relationship. We will meet every word, admission, secret, and memory, with an open mind and open heart. We cannot truly help you, if we don’t know who you are and what you are struggling with. In order to do this, we need to build trust.
Secondly, as counselors, we see people from all walks of life and chances are, whatever you are telling us probably isn’t even the worst thing we have heard all day. We understand that humans are fallible, and they don’t always make the best choices. More importantly, we understand that sometimes people don’t have the best choices to make. There are so many external and internal forces that shape our worlds and the choices we have and the choices we make. We are here to unravel the why and the how so we can guide you to make future choices that will better your life and your mental well-being. We know how hard it is to sit across from a stranger and tell them all of the things that bring you shame, guilt, pain, fear. This is why we do it! We want to be the person you can unburden yourself to. We actively chose to be the place where you can feel safe.
Lastly, if you do feel judged by your therapist, take a moment to ask yourself if what you are feeling may be a reflection of how others may have treated you in the past and not necessarily an accurate perception of the counselor. In other words, is there any proof to back that claim? If not, they probably aren’t judging you. If you still feel like they are, find another counselor. There are many professionals out there willing to help and sometimes you need to find the right personality to match you.