Dishonesty can damage relationships and undermine therapy, but honesty is hard, especially for some clients. And yet, for therapy to progress, romantic partners need to be able to navigate thorny discussions with honesty and respect—and couples therapists need to avoid getting roped into being the lie detector. Honesty and disclosure are an important part of effective therapy, but they are also an important goal to work towards. We will begin by discussing the different kinds of dishonesty, the purposes that they serve, and the impact that actual or suspected dishonesty has on the partner and relationship. Then we will discuss how to help clients build the skills to be able to be more honest with themselves, their partner, and their therapist, as well as how to help partners be better receivers of honest disclosure, so that both partners feel empowered to shift a dissatisfying dynamic.
1. Help clients identify the little lies that they tell themselves and learn to be more honest with themselves.
2. Help clients see how both partners contribute to a lack of honesty in their relationship and therefore both have the ability to shift that dynamic.
3. Help clients be more trustworthy in their relationship by being more honest.
4. Help clients feel more trust in their relationship by responding better to uncomfortable disclosures.