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A licensed psychologist, and also a therapy client myself. Avigail Lev knows “doorknob comments” — aka mentioning something important or concerning at the last minute in a therapy session — all too well.

These comments are on difficult topics you may not want to discuss or get feedback. Lev once made such a comment to her therapist, she later realized that “a recent trigger occurred that I hadn’t fully formulated, and I didn’t want to be subconsciously influenced by my therapist’s reaction.”

It is quite common to hear doorknob comments. Perhaps you mention you’re thinking about getting back with an ex. You might say that you had a traumatic experience or that your self-harm was a result. Perhaps it’s even just a remark about an unhealthy behavior. (These are just examples and don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what they might be.)

Multiple Twitter users have talked about their tendencyPlease share the following comments. On “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” a character’s therapist noted that, right before leaving, she mentioned her that her abusive father had called. There are many therapists on TikTok have created videosInformation about the appearance of doorknob knock comments.

If this rings true for you, don’t fret. While throwing in a doorknob comment is understandable — it can be tempting and seem to lessen anxiety — it can also sabotage your sessionYou may not have enough time to discuss your problem. You may feel unsatisfied as a result.

These comments should be stopped and you can ensure that they do not happen again get all your needs met in therapy sessionsWithout any feeling Too uncomfortable, here’s what to keep in mind:

Determine where your urge to comment on doorknobs comes from

It is possible to better manage doorknob comments by understanding the reasons behind them. The fear of being judged is another possible reason.

“In my experience, it is often because [patients] are feeling timid or unsure about sharing with their therapist,” said Brittany Morris, a licensed clinical social worker from Thriveworks in Chesapeake, Virginia. “Individuals may feel like dropping this kind of information at the very end of the session will keep the clinician from being able to give a negative response or make a judgment on the information they have shared.”

Doorknob comments can also be made for other reasons. “[Patients] may feel the need to ‘warm up’ before they feel ready to talk about something … It could also be a last ditch effort to squeeze just a little more time out of session,” added Marina HarrisBill, North Carolina psychologist licensed to run a newsletter with scientifically-backed tips and tricks for improving your mental health. “All of these reasons are valid.”

Make sure you’re comfortable with your therapist

Finding a therapist who’s affordable and who you’re comfortable with is a crucial step to take as early as possible.

“Therapists are there to help you as a client,” Morris said. “They are an unbiased source whose only objective should be to help you grow and heal. It is important for clients to know that they can feel comfortable talking with their clinician. [feeling] like you can share information is absolutely necessary to make the desired progress.”

“The relationship is key because [of] the client’s needs to feel safe enough to broach challenging topics and feel heard and understood,” Harris added.

It is important to remember that therapists should not be judged and are impartial. When you tell a therapist something, you’re probably going to get a different response than you would from a friend or family member. Plus, therapists’ knowledge about psychology and mental health means they’re typically more understanding and don’t believe in stigma.

However, if you feel that your therapist might be judgmental, talk to an advocate. “I statement,” which looks like this: “I feel ___ when ___ because ___. Can you ___ instead?” Or you can find a new therapist who fits you better.

When vetting a new therapist, look for one who specializes in what you’re experiencing and has a similar identity. Psychology Today has a great databaseThis will make it easier. Then, ask potential therapists about a free phone consultation, which can help you determine if they’re a good fit.

Finding a therapist you trust and feel comfortable with is key to reducing doorknob comments.
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To reduce doorknob complaints, it is crucial to choose a therapist with whom you are comfortable and can trust.

Plan your session

The therapist must acknowledge the doorknob comment. Follow up should be done as needed. You can discuss your needs with your clinician to create a plan.

“Therapists can reduce this tendency of clients to only disclose important information at the very end of their session by working with them to make a plan or agenda for the session and finding ways to help them feel comfortable sharing,” Morris said.

“An agenda is basically a road map for session,” Harris said. “I introduce an agenda by saying, ‘What do you want to prioritize in our session today?’ or ‘I wanted to make sure we talk about X, but what do you want to add to the agenda?’”

You’re allowed to pose similar questions as a client, too. “If your therapist doesn’t start with an agenda, ask if you can implement one,” Harris said. “It keeps the session on track and helps get needs met in an effective way.”

Not sure what else this “plan” may entail? Consider your most urgent and pressing problems. Also consider how long each topic will take you to address.

Harris recommended talking about the “big stuff” early. “I am very certain you’ll feel a lot better if you bring up your concerns early and get your needs met, rather than waiting until the last minute,” she said.

But you can set limits. Consider informing your therapist about the topics you don’t feel comfortable talking about for long, so they can ask the most vital questions in that time frame.

Another helpful tool is to plan your coping strategy. You might want to share a fidgettoy, or play with it. Or avoid eye contact? Is it better to type it than say it loudly? Is there a certain response you’re looking for or wouldn’t find helpful? These ideas can be used to reduce your discomfort.

Be aware that Avoidance can make your feelings worse

It may be easier to wait for hard updates, but it can actually lead to more negative emotions. “This just makes the anxiety or shame worse in the long-term,” Harris said. “What actually helps is talking about it.”

If you’ve undergone exposure therapy, you’ve seen how this works. You can see the results of this therapy. longer you avoid something, the scarier it seems. Conversely, when you expose yourself to your fears and realize they aren’t as awful as you think, you become less afraid.

You can be compassionate through all of it.

While trying to avoid making doorknob comments, don’t forget to give yourself grace. “I want clients to know that we, as therapists, know it’s really hard to broach difficult topics in session,” Harris said.

Being understanding and giving yourself compassion canIt can improve emotional well-being, resilience and self-esteem. It’s linked to motivation, confidence and better relationships.

It is far more beneficial than you might think to practice self-compassion. And you deserve it, too.


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