Dear Therapist:

I have been seeing a therapist for the last few weeks. Recently, while I was waiting for my appointment in the waiting room, I overheard him discussing another patient on the phone. The door to his office was wide open and he knew I was there because he had buzzed me into the waiting room. Since then I just don't feel comfortable speaking with him because maybe he discusses me when there are other people listening. The problem is that it was so hard for me to come and tell him so many things and I just don't have the strength to start again with someone else. How do you suggest I approach this?



It sounds like it took you a long time to muster up the courage to see a therapist.  It’s great that you were able to overcome your trepidation and open up to someone who can help.  It can be difficult to acknowledge that we can use help with our issues, and it can be very difficult to admit this to a stranger.  Once we do recognize our issues and speak with a therapist, creating change can be challenging.

Now you’re faced with another hurdle related to your relationship with your therapist.  Once again, there is something that is uncomfortable for you to address, but you recognize that it should be discussed with him.  Although this can also be daunting, there are a few things that can help you feel more comfortable bringing it up.

The obvious difference between discussing your problems and addressing the current issue is that this issue lies with your therapist and is something that he needs to change.  Remind yourself that this is something that he should be addressing and that it’s not your problem.  A professional therapist would want to know that he is inadvertently breaking confidentiality.  He would also want you to discuss anything that makes you feel uncomfortable with the therapy process.  It’s his job to create a safe and comfortable atmosphere.  He will likely be thankful to you for bringing this to his attention.

If you’re concerned that your conversation will seem confrontational, you can emphasize the fact that you felt uncomfortable.  Although this isn’t your problem, and you shouldn’t have to soften the message, doing so can make it easier for you to broach the subject. Speaking about it from your point of view, while at the same time recognizing that it’s not your issue, can make the discussion seem less like a confrontation.  That being said, your therapist will likely be apologetic, and thankful to you for pointing out something of which he should be aware.

-Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

  psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer / 718-258-5317


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