Maladaptive beliefs refers to a term that describes ill formed thinking patterns, mostly negative, behaviour patterns, reaction patterns that may, but not always, have been learned during a traumatic event or childhood. Unsupported irrational thinking or beliefs. False, but accepted by the individual.
A maladaptive schema clouds self judgment. This can be related to abandonment issues, shame, dependence, vulnerabilities, mistrust and on and on and on..
For a previous post on maladaptive beliefs click here.
In therapy one large stumbling block, is when a patient will conceal information. There are numerous reasons why this could be. Shame, trust, embarrassment, fear, humiliation, there is a long list that becomes more and more technical.
These are things that cause us to fear that our therapist may judge us if we open up, to reveal. It can also be that the patient does not wish to change what they may be doing.
Or to that speak of it, ratifies it. That it really is a non issue, isn’t it?
There is the fear that they will be judged by their therapist.
We are quick to self judge and doing so may believe others will do the same of us if information is revealed.
We are often our harshest critics, our strongest judges of ourselves. As a therapist we are not there to judge but to help you lesson your own critical self judgment.
In therapy you will often run across something the patient does not wish to discuss, an area of topic or something more specific. An example something more specific is self harm. Both the patient and the therapist may or may not know this is an on going issue, but either way the patient doesn’t wish to talk about it ‘at this time’. They may not really wish to stop practicing self harm or they may find it an embarrassing topic.
This is often because of the fear of being judged. Judged by someone that maybe doesn’t understand, They don’t self harm, so how can they know? Self harm is not understood by most, noses raise, frowns issue, many say ewe or just don’t do that. Easy advice to issue. Just don’t do that.
This can though apply to many issues, “you are not in my place so how can you possibly understand what I go through.” So the patient does not reveal.
It is difficult to provide help, with limited information. Or with a wall that has been built that a patient is unwilling to tear down, or even get close to. Therapy will be never ending when information is withheld or is just wrong.
This fear of being judged is a giant speed bump in therapy.
Some simple examples, my meds don’t work so I stopped taking them. Perhaps you didn’t mention you drink heavily, or take other narcotics or other meds that you have not revealed. Because this would involve what you feel to be judgment or you have no intention of stopping to drink heavily, so there is no point in admitting that you do.
So to avoid being judged, patients may omit or lie. The patients hope they can receive help and just avoid these areas. Unfortunately those areas are often thorns, sometimes the root of their torment, there is no avoiding some issues unfortunately.
We don’t take our car into the shop and tell them it goes beep beep boop and then not tell them about the purple smoke that comes out of the dashboard because we want our car to be well again.
We may lie when we are asked if we are suicidal, because then we fear being placed in an institution for our safety, we don’t want to go there. So we may lie.
A lower self esteem, self worth often contributes to this fear of judgment. A low self esteem is linked to guilt, often this guilt may be associated with past incidents that they blame themselves for. Prime examples are child abuse, sexual assault. The mind can not comprehend how someone can be capable of doing these things, often self blame arises to justify the attackers reasoning. This is when maladaptive beliefs form. This is when it can become quite complex. The fear of judgment from what they may not be revealing may be unjustified. First off the therapist is not going to judge, even though that thought is not believed, second the undisclosed information may be unfounded to some extent, I know this sounds complex and unsorted. Rationality though, is not firm. Clear thinking is not, clear.
The fear can be powerful too, that discussing the hidden issue, will awaken, and possibly will, a much too powerful feeling, fear, memory or even an alter. Or cause someone else to suffer, or go to jail. Yes often a patient may be protecting an attacker, living with their attack/s but still protecting them, knowing that to reveal may cause them to be jailed. Working through this with your therapist in a controlled safe environment is the way to peace.
Judging is a human trait, it is something we do. A therapist understands, unless they are not worthy, and then you should seek another promptly, judging a patient will be a detriment to therapy. It will create distrust. A therapist will be more aware of this than most and will strive to not show any signs of judgment. But, perhaps there really is no judgment to be made either? Most often, this is the case.
The judgment that is feared, is often not warranted, It may be from maladapted beliefs. Something the therapist will help the patient with, rather than ridiculing them or even judging, as perhaps there is no judgment to make, no ill thoughts, only help.
We can also conceal or lie to impress. We want our therapist to like us, so the truth may be stretched or completely changed to impress. This too becomes complex. Honesty with your therapist will go a long way to your healing.
There may be other reasons for fearing judgment. Criminal activities being an example. If you tell your therapist, are they going to report you to the authorities? To your partner or parents? The answer too, is not so easy, this varies from place to place, how the laws may protect your privileges, your right to confidentially.
There will be few, if any areas though, that will keep your therapist from taking further action if they fear you are a danger to others or yourself, they have a legal responsibility to take action in that case.
If though, you have gone to the trouble of seeing a therapist, because you have those thoughts. To answer yes, when asked are you suicidal, or not to say I am not fine, when asked how you are. This is going to help you. It may be possible if you answer those questions honestly that more care will be sought for you, it may be possible that, with your therapists help you right that second too, things can turn around and further care in a hospital for example, may not always be needed.
See You have taken the step to seek therapy, to seek help, to feel better, but you have to take the second step too, and reveal with honestly. Speed bumps are for parking lots. Don’t make therapy a parking lot.