Contrary to what is often believed, psychotherapy clients do indeed lie to their therapists, and often manage to get away with it. Clients may lie out of shame, or because some bad habits give them too much pleasure for them to actually want to stop. Distinguishing truth from lies can be tricky, because all humans will, to some extent, filter information through their personal perspectives, biases and narratives about the world. It can be hard to tell where subjective opinion or perspective becomes dishonesty.
- Despite the need for honest disclosure during psychotherapy, clients often lie out of a basic human need to avoid shame or aggrandize one’s sense of self.
- Whether someone is lying isn’t always cut and dried, but exists on a continuum with truth-telling.
- Therapists may want their client sessions to be fully truthful, but much information is probably being left out, fudged or distorted.
“Yes, we all try to protect our fragile sense of self. So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that even in that therapeutic space of near-absolute confidentiality, clients lie and keep secrets.”