Fear of Psychotherapy and Feeling Exposed
Patients Fear Revealing Too Much Information Due to Shame
The unspoken theme of 'exposure' resonates throughout the therapy session as more and more vulnerability is revealed.— Janis Evans, Licensed Professional Counselor and Poet
Understanding the Client's Fears and Point of View
This poem was inspired years ago by a client who was extremely uncomfortable with the process of therapy. It has since applied to just about every new client in terms of my understanding of and sensitivity to how each client feels about being in therapy.
The unspoken theme of 'exposure' is one that resonates in a psychotherapy setting. In such a setting, clients are at the height of vulnerability, sharing the most intimate details of their personal lives with a complete stranger.
It's not often we get the chance to see that point of view of the person in the "hot seat." As therapists, we try to make the initial and subsequent sessions as comfortable as possible to ensure a good therapeutic experience. This poem gives us that perspective and increases our empathy for those who come into session for help.
A Poem About Feeling Exposed
"Fear of Exposure" (JLE 2007)
An unexpected meeting place, by choice or circumstance
Opening myself to you in therapeutic stance
Who is this I ask myself, a stranger in my face
Expecting me to give details and share with you my case
Crazy disposition laid, to open up and talk
While you just sit still listening and watch me like a hawk
More and more I talk about the things that make me shrink
Feeling very vulnerable, I wonder what you think
As time passes on the clock, with so much more to say
A tug-of-war I play inside, true feelings held at bay
I don't think I can trust this thing, the dance called therapy
Exposed and naked there I sit as you look back at me
Your judgment and analysis slowly brings forth my fears
Afraid to show you all of me as I hold back my tears
I cannot trust you totally, my affect fades to blank
So I retreat inside my head back to my cold think tank
For now I will protect myself with every chosen word
Sharing with you only from the tip of my iceberg
Therapeutic Journey Can Provoke Anxiety
Feeling Exposed in Therapy
"How comfortable did you feel sharing information in your first session?"
Patients Reveal Slowly Until They Feel Emotionally Safe
Comfort Level with Your Therapist is Essential
Finding a therapist with whom you feel comfortable is not always easy. It takes time to get the right fit and feel safe opening up to a complete stranger about your most personal issues. Take time to do your research to find the right therapist for you. Visit this article which details how to find a therapist to get you started. Good luck on your first steps on a journey of self-discovery and optimal mental health.
© 2015 Janis Leslie Evans