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I have a question for those of you who have been going to therapy.... do you ever have a hard time starting the conversation or knowing what to say? I always seem to start with light hearted conversation and then don't know how to turn it around to talk about what I am really there for. For example, today I went and I started by talking about work and what was going on at work and I couldn't then change to talk about the real reason I am there. (I am not sure if any of this is making sense...)

How do you turn the conversation around? I feel like now I am putting on a front to my T and I don't want to...

Any input or ideas are appreciated.... :)



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It can be hard to redirect the conversation from small talk in T...can you can explain to your T what you have explained here? Perhaps he/she would then understand that this is something you are struggling with and you are seeking guidance with? I'm sure your T would have suggestions on how to help you with this, or help you find a route which is comfortable for you?


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When I have needed to talk about something - I just have to be plain rude and not even say hello but just start with 'I want to say something' - if I don't I would never say it - but now he just says to me at the begining 'what would you like to talk about' after the hellos - I think once you break the pattern once it is easier the next time to do it

best wishes


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My T is very good about redirecting the chitchat onto the core issues needing to be discussed. He has an advantage as he reads my journal and has a jumping off place on our discussions. Otherwise all we would talk about is the weather. I am not very chatty by nature so the journal readinf is a big help.


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I noticed I do the same thing in T. I would like to say things as they are but I have such a hard time doing that. I have started to bring issues that have really been bothering me up in the form of writing, that way I don't forget what I am going to say. Sometimes I have her read it, if its to hard for me and other times I read it.

I recently did that in reference to something she said once that really bothered me, she was very apologetic. The writing it out really helps because there was no way I would have gotten those words out of me:) Hopefully some day soon I can do it bluntly.

I recently told my T that I feel like I am all over the place in there lol, meaning I talk about any and everything, and not always what I need to . She said in the beginning the is good and needed to help you feel the T out and learn to trust him/her. However, I have now been going for six months and we set up some goals together, ones that give me a more direct aim in T, with deadlines. The dealines are only there for direction, not written in stone. She informed me of that this week because I was so freaked out that I wouldn't be able to accomplish them on time, and I let her know that.

Hopefully this helps some, don't be too hard on yourself, its always rough in the beginning, especially if your totally new to it like I was.


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Hi Abby :hug: Good question

I am very good at small talk and find a comfort in it while I am with my T, yet when I leave I feel like what the heck did I just pay for? I am not that brave though to be able to just say okay this is what I need to deal with because well it might be what I need to deal with but it scares me so when I have had the choice to talk or not I choose not. I realized though that I had to change this or stop T so I did it slowly by given him a little more insight on how I really was doing at first, like admitting that I was cutting again, or having a lot of bad dreams (which I couldn't talk about) etc. He asked me to write for him and bring it in and that either I could read it aloud or he would, so I did I wrote a lot and on the way to his office I had a panic attack to the point of having to pull over didn't stop spinning until I had ripped up the paper with the promise to myself that I would at least talk about one thing I wrote about as much as I could. That has changed therapy, for me it wasn't really a problem trusting my T after a few months but trusting me to be able to cope which is still a on going battle but having the support of others here has helped a lot with that.

You deserve to heal and find your voice and there are many ways you can so you can do it by just blurting it out or by slowly stepping your way to it just make a deal and a plan with yourself that you can feel safe with

Good luck :hug:

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Hi Abby,

Tell your T' to ask you leading questions. Tell her what you told us.

And you don't want to waste time at your session,

you can have small talk with your cat, not your T'! :wink:

Have strength of heart and spirit


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I have been going to T for years now and there are still times that I go there and feel like I can't really talk to her about what I really need to. I have to agree with the part about writing things down, that was the way that I communicated with my T for the first few years that I went. It has just been recently that I have been able to actually speak about things in T. I also believe that you may just need to be blunt and just blurt out what it is you need to say, because I agree that it is never good to "waste" your time there, but I do think at times it is good to go there and talk about other things. I wish you good luck on this and hope that you can find a way to tell your T what it is you need to talk about. I hope this helps out a little. Thinking about you, Hang in there.

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I used to worry what to say in the beginning and now I feel like I could spend hours with my therapist each week. Besides, at the start of each session my therapist asks me, "What on your mind?" and that is my cue. Each time I go to my session now, I have a list. Sometimes the list is in order of importance and sometimes it's not. A list helps me to stay focused so I feel like I get my monies worth. I have paid for a couple of sessions that were not productive, but not now.


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I agree with writing things down in a sort of list. It has really helped me and whilst we don't always cover everything in our sessions the list is a start. I use to find the beginings of my sessions really difficult and I was unable to speak at all because of my anxiety. I just couldn't bring myself to speak and so used small talk initially to calm myself. My T realised this and we worked out that this was OK for a few mins to calm myself down but then he would move me gently towards the issues that I really wanted and needed to talk about. I feel if you could tell your T what you have told us, then you would be able to work it out together.

Good Luck

Pax :flowers:

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I'm chatty too (if my constantly long posts haven't given that away already). My old T was not good at letting me redirect - even after two sessions of trying to explain that what she thought was a big issue was not for me - or was 10 years ago in therapy but I'm good with it now. We never could get to the heart of issues...she'd even bring up chit chatty topics. New T will let me ramble for a session but at the next one she'll say "we need to re-evaluate your goal for T because I feel like last week we may have stepped to the side a bit." Sometimes we have, sometimes I can connect the dots for her.....I take a list as well. I've even handed it to her if I didn't know how to jump right in.

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I believe this is an issue many survivors face with their T, as well as with their relatives and friends. I know I have struggled many times with directing the conversation where I wanted it go.

Abby has kindly given us permission to move her topic to the "Pretty Good Year" forum. I hope that many more survivors will read it, join the discussion, and feel less isolated. :tealribbon:

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A way me and my T kind of get the conversation going is by email, we send each other emails through the week and often get an ideas of the issues we need to cover in the next session, like through the week I talked to my T about how we where going to go about talking about "it" so then when I talked in their, we started with the usual how was your week etc, and then the Question, Do you want to talk about it? ... Like having a house brick thrown in your face :blink: but it broke the ice and allowed me to open up somewhat about what has happened, so I guess having some kind of "plan for attack" for talking about that subject can be a good way to tackle this problem.

I still found it quiet difficult to talk about "it", I was just running through it in my head, but it wouldn't come out of my mouth, I guess in this regards you just have to give yourself time, and breathe etc. That's all I can think of, I guess we have to remember that we are talking about the most horrible experiences of our lives, it's not easy, so I guess we also have to have realist expectation of ourselves, and don't push ourselves too far. I hope this helps :flowers:

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  • 2 years later...

I agree with John, a plan for attack can definitely be helpful. I sort of resigned myself that starting the conversation, or the initial "diving in" is always going to be awkward -- you can only alleviate that part so much, but if you're having trouble talking about things, ask your therapist about ways they can help you feel safer.

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