Silence in Therapy
The Discomfort of Silence
Does silence make you uncomfortable? Many people feel this way, most likely because we as humans have been taught to feel this way. Since childhood, we learn basic rules about communicating with others that we carry on into adulthood. One of these rules is to not let a conversation fall silent. We may not even be intentionally following this rule, but it might be something that occurs at a subconscious level. When we speak to someone, we often try to keep the conversation full and lively, as we don’t want to seem bored or have the situation feel awkward.
Silence in Therapy
If you have ever been to therapy, you might have noticed your therapist goes silent sometimes. It isn’t that they are judging you, or that they aren’t listening to you, but that they are allowing you a minute to reflect. The times your therapist is silent are times for you to have a minute to yourself to think about what you have said. An important part of therapy is reflection, and if the conversation were a normal social conversation, you might not have the chance to do that. While it may feel unnatural at first to sit in silence with another person, you may get used to it over time, and even begin to appreciate the silent moments. It may also give you more room to speak.
Is the Silence too Much?
Does the idea of this much silence make you uncomfortable? Do you not want that much room to speak? You can always tell your therapist you aren’t ready for too many silent breaks in your session. They can help you ease into silence, and make you feel more comfortable with reflecting over time. It is also important to remember that sometimes, therapy will be uncomfortable. Therapy is a time when you are vulnerable, which can feel uneasy at first, but stepping out of your comfort zone will help in the long run. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to really grow.
Silence can make us uncomfortable because we have learned to associate it with awkwardness or boredom. However, silence can play an important role in therapy by allowing individuals to reflect and to be present in the room. Although it may feel unnatural at first, therapy is a time to be vulnerable and step out of our comfort zones. Embracing these moments of silence can help us grow. It can also help us to discover who we are.