A few days ago, I was working on my computer and my significant other came into my room with a spoon covered by his hand so I couldn't see what was on it. He asked me to close my eyes and open my mouth. Now, to be fair, I knew he had been exploring new hummus recipes but the "close your eyes" part was a little jarring. Two things could have happened here:
I play along - close my eyes and open my mouth and see what is in store for me
I refuse - tell him there is no way I will let him feed me something unless I know what it is first
Option 1 is a risk for me. I'm a little bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to food. I'll try things but I don't care for spicy food and cilantro is a huge no-no.
Option 2 is a risk for both of us. It's safer for me, but I risk upsetting him and putting strain on our relationship for a short period of time.
Truthfully, my experience with the mystery hummus reminds me of the value of therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist. The basis of a productive therapeutic relationship is trust. If you can't trust your therapist, if you can't truthfully talk to your therapist, you are doing yourself a disservice by continuing to see that specific person.
The basis of a productive therapeutic relationship is trust.
It may feel very unusual to "shop around" for a therapist, but this is an important part of the therapeutic process. You need a therapist that you can confide in, that you can open up to, and that you can trust, so when you are ready to disclose difficult issues in your life, you feel comfortable doing so.
Another important value of trust in the therapeutic relationship is being able to trust that your therapist is willing and able to walk with you on the difficult parts of your journey. Sometimes that means sitting with you in silence. Sometimes that means listening to you. Sometimes that means talking with you or verbally challenging your thoughts. Other times, that may mean implementing different types of techniques such as Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), MARI or mandalas, EMDR, meditation, mindfulness techniques, or even going outside and yelling or taking your aggression out on a tree by hitting it with a stick. These less traditional forms of therapy can be scary for a client to engage in the first time (or first several times!), but if trust between the client and therapist is established, the therapist will walk with the client every step of the way and help them process everything that comes up.
So, just like Aladdin asked Jasmine before taking a huge leap, the therapist is asking their client, "Do you trust me?" If your answer is no, consider talking to your therapist about that, or find someone else that you can trust.
As for me, I chose Option 1 and was pleasantly surprised with a chocolate hummus. I trust him, while I was nervous, I knew there would be nothing harmful or unpleasant on that spoon.