If I talk to a therapist about it, will they make me confront my abuser?
Last Updated: 09/07/2021 at 4:44pm
Monique Bivins, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I have a real passion for helping my clients to overcome life's obstacles . My work with clients is nonjudgmental, supportive, and interactive.
Top Rated Answers
No! Every choice that you make in therapy is totally and completely up to you. Your therapist can make suggestions and offer advice until they are blue in the face, but whatever you decide is completely your decision. Sometimes in therapy it can help to talk about the abuse without confronting who abused you, or you may find it helpful to write a letter and never send it, or to talk to an empty chair imagining that they are sitting in it. There are so many different ways of healing without having to talk to your abuser - and even if you did want to talk to your abuser, your therapist could help you out with that too.
They can't make you do anything, for starters -- only you can make your choices. However, the only reason I can think someone might suggest you confront your abuser is if they are a) likely not aware that they are abusing you and b) likely to want to change their behavior once they are confronted about it. While 'a' is not uncommon, 'b' is more rare. Besides, the reason you are in therapy is to help yourself -- so I think most therapists will be helping you figure out how to either deal with or, when possible, leave the abusive situation and heal from the trauma.
Therapists are there to support you, if you want to confront your abuser that can be a goal they help you reach, but they will never force you to do anything. They are on your side, they want the best for you. Their job is to help you process the abuse, deal with any resulting issues, and just overall help you on your journey of healing. So no, they won't force you to confront your abuser, they won't even force you to talk about it if you don't want to. Not talking about it at all would be counter productive, but they want you to heal and they will go at your pace.
No. As the client, the counsellor/therapist's role is to help provide insight into feelings, emotions or problems you have identified. They should never give direction/advice that way. The counsellor/therapist should help set expectations for your sessions, you could frame this straight away: "I do not want to confront my abuser". When you are looking for a counsellor/therapist, see if they share their credentials. A fully trained counsellor will share their level of education, the licencing they hold for the state/country, explain how they work, and what type of counselling theories they use. A fully trained and licenced counsellor/therapist should navigate your needs appropriately. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about how to find a counsellor/therapist.
No, a therapist will not make you confront your abuser. A therapist will discuss with you your wants and needs, as well as review with you the consequences that confronting your abuser may have, so that you can take an informed decision on if this is the right decision for you. If you ever come to the decision that confronting your abuser is the best for you, then your therapist will support you in doing so. This support will be emotional as well more practical. Emotional in the sense that your therapist will listen to your feelings leading to and after the confrontation, and help you cope. Practical in the sense that your therapist may teach you some communication methodologies, help you find the words that you want to tell your abuser, and help you review how you will proceed.
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