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How do I tell my therapist about my traumatic past?

4 Answers
Last Updated: 01/04/2021 at 8:28pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Sarah Archer, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

As a Licensed MFT I work with clients to more effectively address, process and learn skills to manage the problems that prevent them from living the life they want.

Top Rated Answers
- Expert in PTSD/Trauma
March 7th, 2017 3:11pm
I found myself being very general at first, just sharing that there was a traumatic past, such as I was abused. But then rather than focus on the trauma, spent time working on coping skills to just function during the days and difficult times. As I became more comfortable that she was going to be a good match, I slowly started to open up one thing at a time to see how she'd react. This included sometimes writing a letter rather than talking about it first. It was easier to let her know what I needed to talk about that day via letter. It helped me to not chicken out. The more trust you have in your therapist, the more opportunity there is to share and work on the past issues that need worked on.
November 15th, 2016 12:51am
Once you develop a therapeutic alliance with your therapist, it becomes a little bit easier. In my experience, people who tell a therapist they wish to disclose at their own pace maintain the feeling of being safe and in control. It is not a race nor is it simple. Be open and express your thoughts to him/ her if you choose to move forward. As always, it is up to you to determine if this is correct for you. I can't offer specific advice as I am not familiar with the big picture. It is simply something to consider and see if it works for you.
December 19th, 2016 9:10am
Maybe you can try composing your story first in your head to get your story and points across. If it's too hard to talk, try writing instead
January 4th, 2021 8:28pm
Be as honest and open as you can with your therapist. Think of them as a stuffed animal you can be one hundred percent yourself around (but a therapist who can actively help you out!) A good therapist's number one objective is to help you find wellness. If you don't feel comfortable with your therapist, be honest about that too. They can help you find someone who might be a better match for you. No hard feelings. As for getting yourself comfortable with sharing, start small and work yourself up. Sometimes sharing one small thing can open the door so the rest tumbles out.