Why People Lie to Their Therapists

People spend their hard-earned cash, precious time and emotional energy to go to therapy, yet a majority of clients end up lying to their therapist. It might seem counterintuitive, but a study in 2016 found that a whopping 93% of clients lie when in the chair.


Why is that?


Therapists work hard to create a “safe space” for their clients to vent their problems and to facilitate an environment that makes them feel comfortable and heard. Therapists are also under an oath of confidentiality, often legally bound to never repeat any information that was said during a session. So what gives?


Read on to find out the reasons clients lie to their therapists.

They Are Embarrassed, Ashamed Or Guilty

Even within a perceived “safe space,” patients are still worried about ruining their reputation. This stops them from sharing intimate things they have kept private, maybe their entire lives. This is a natural response and can be a defense mechanism for a lot of people, so it is understandable. Patients may be afraid of opening up and being judged, even if it’s by a licensed professional. 

They Fear The Consequences

Since childhood, we’ve all feared getting in trouble. Maybe some of us, or a lot of us, developed habits of dishonesty in order to avoid the consequences of our actions. This motivates a lot of patients to continue to be dishonest in the therapist’s office. Many patients fear that their therapist will punish them if they reveal the things they’ve done or thought of behind closed doors.

They’re Used To Lying To Themselves

A lot of patients are in denial of the things they, or others, have done. They simply can’t accept certain things or situations yet. The great thing about therapy is that it can be used as a tool to change your narrative about yourselves and others. Hopefully, over time this will help patients come to terms with the things they were not willing to see. Whether that be about themselves or about others in their life. 

They Don’t Want To Relive Trauma

We’ve all been there. Lying in bed at night, trying to sleep when all of a sudden we remember something embarrassing that happened recently and feel a rush of new embarrassment and horror. The same thing happens when you think of something that made you sad, or angry. You feel all those emotions again and relive the moment. 


This is the same for any traumatizing event someone has gone through. Many patients express they do not wish to talk about their trauma because they do not want to relive it through the retelling. Many patients also do not realize that what they have gone through has impacted them in any way or underestimate its significance in their life.


While therapy can be daunting to many people, going to therapy can be one of the most rewarding experiences. If you’re searching for a therapist in Vancouver for any type of counselling, such as relationship or anxiety counselling, call Daphne Georghiou today to book a virtual appointment.