Those of us here in Ohio and even some of you around the country have probably heard more than your share about Ted Williams. An addict who professes to be clean and ready to move forward. Yeah, it didn’t take more than one interview for me to know the truth. His 15 minutes of fame would be up soon.
In fact, he lied to Dr. Phil to get home to see his children (meaning – I need one more fix before I go to rehab). He then skipped out of rehab – because he thinks he will make it big in Hollywood and doesn’t need therapy anymore. Yeah because Hollywood always makes multi-million dollar deals with stories that end horribly and back to where they started. Here in America we just love pathetic movies where there is absolutely no chance of a happy ending.
The bottom line is that therapy is no good for anyone unless they tell the truth. Ted Williams could be a successful person IF he gets clean and sober. This involves telling the truth to himself and the therapist and finding out what got him addicted in the first place (not the disease reason or it runs in the family). I am talking about where he was when he first took the drink, what he was thinking, why he was thinking, the whole nasty mess. If after a few years from now he continues to be clean and sober, builds a relationship with his children, takes responsibility by holding down a job – than maybe there is a movie there. The truth has to come out and be dealt with first.
For the average person using may not be the problem at stake. The truth might be cheating on your spouse, stealing from your employer, raising a child you have a hard time dealing with (as a parent), feeling harassed on the job, feeling defeated as a person, lots of things could be your truth. Talking to a therapist about these things, means you don’t have to hold onto it all by yourself. Someone else is holding the bag/the mess for you.
Once you begin to let go of some of the mess that is in your life, you are freed up to think more clearly about your choices. Since I am not your family member, lover, or friend, I am not the one who will be in your life once you leave the session.
I don’t like working with dishonest people anymore than Dr. Phil does. He gets humiliated on television for something he already knows is the truth before it is told. I’ve been lied to by clients. Sometimes I knew it was a lie, sometimes I didn’t. What bothers me is that they did not respect me enough to tell me. I wonder what I could have said differently. There are occasions when I realize I am not the right therapist for the client. But this isn’t about me as a therapist, it is about you the client.
If you are not being honest with yourself, than you are getting no benefit from therapy. Walking in the room and talking to me the same way you speak to your spouse, you’ve just wasted my time and yours. Only now you have spent money to do it. You might as well throw a hundred-dollar bill in the trash can.
The way I am talking right now may seem very harsh and rude. It may make you feel a little afraid to come into therapy. I feel though that what I am saying is no different from what your conscience is saying. There is a part of us that wants someone to help us get to the bottom of things. Sometimes we even need a gentle push. Telling a therapist the truth is not going to make anything happen at the moment (unless you say you are going to kill someone, yourself, or are beating your child – which are all reportable, non-confidential statements). At the moment, it is really going to release some of the pain in your shoulders, chest, or wherever you’ve been holding it on your body. Getting it out in the open, frees you up to discuss what you want to do next. What are your options? Telling the truth is half the problem. The next step is taking action. I will talk more about that another time.