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Do Clients Lie in Psychotherapy

Do Clients Lie in Psychotherapy

This is a question that I am often asked by my students. As people, generally speaking will lie in their day to day lives. Sometimes for big things sometimes for small. Do they also lie to their psychotherapist and if so why? Well there are studies which show that indeed clients do lie to their psychotherapists. There are a wealth of reasons which include things like embarrassment about their issues. Sometimes they will lie about the progress made or not as the case may be. Sometimes they will lie simply because they are used to it.

Does the fact that clients will lie have an impact on the therapeutic relationship? The answer is fairly obvious, yes it will. But will that fracture the relationship. The answer is not necessarily. Lying can be a form of resistance from the client. It is essential that when a lie is discovered by the therapist, that it is discussed in the session. The reason being is that if the lie is discussed but not judged it can show the client that they are being heard, I mean really heard rather than simply being listened to. A client telling their psychotherapist a lie is not necessarily a bad thing. However, a therapist lying to a client is usually a bad thing and this can rupture the relationship. So, yes some clients lie in therapy, but their reasons might be a key to therapeutic progress.

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