„The psychotherapist hid my diagnosis from me”: is it worth it to do so?

You would like to be in a similar situation? Some psychiatrists and psychotherapists hide the real diagnoses of their patients „for their own good”. Others consider this attitude to unethical. Let’s look at the arguments “for” and “against”.

How experts explain their unwillingness to make a diagnosis to the patient?

Often you can find allegations that the disclosure of a true diagnosis is harmful to patients. Two arguments are mainly given:

  1. A person accepts the “hanged” “shortcut” on him and identifies himself with him, experiencing shame. Symptoms of disorder become part of its identity. Or he begins to justify the unacceptable behavior with his diagnosis.
  2. Stigmatization of mental disorders. The main reason is completely incorrect ideas about them, common in society. The news that he is “one of these” may turn out to be a heavy blow to the patient. If he decides to reveal information about his diagnosis of others, he risks becoming an outcast.

Why these

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arguments are insolvent?

  • Avoiding talk about the diagnosis, doctors and therapists thereby further strengthen existing prejudices about mental disorders, from which they supposedly try to protect the patient. Hiding this important information, they seem to send a signal: „The diagnosis of a mental disorder is a very serious problem”.
  • Some experts hide the diagnosis so that he does not become part of the patient’s presentation about himself and does not destroy his self -esteem. But the patient still knows that he regularly visits a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, which implies the presence of mental problems and can also cause shame. The problem in this case is not in the diagnosis, but in the biased attitude of society towards psychology and psychiatry as such.
  • Unless psychiatric diagnoses can damage the self -esteem of patients? With the same success, one can hide the diagnoses of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, alcoholism and drug addiction – after all, suffering from all these disorders also encounter a biased attitude from society.
  • Many people have absolutely perpetuous ideas about mental disorders, gleaned from mass culture, the Internet, the Soviets of friends and non -specialists. Some on the basis of this information “diagnose” themselves, for example, schizophrenia, bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are sure that they have severe treatment. Wouldn’t it ethically inform them of truthful information about their true diagnosis, the upcoming treatment and prognosis of the disease?

How to do therapist?

Here’s what the psychotherapy-Superviser Anthony Smith advises.

  • It is worth thinking about how a non -disclosure of the diagnosis will affect the relationship of the therapist with the patient.
  • If the patient directly asks about his diagnosis, most likely this is not just curiosity. Let’s say he first came to the therapist, it seems to him that he is going crazy. It is important for him to understand what is happening to him and whether it is possible to cope with this. Knowledge of the diagnosis will only help him, he will be able to find other people with similar problems and find reliable information about his disease.
  • In many cases, the therapist should suggest telling about the diagnosis himself, especially if the patient misunderstood what is happening to him.

“In most cases, the question is not whether it is worth telling the patient about his diagnosis, but how exactly to do it. It largely depends on this whether this knowledge will bring benefit or harm, ”Anthony Smith sums up.