Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Michael Karson

First Committee Member

Fernand Lubuguin

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Mathewson


Bluntness, Immediacy, Countertransference, Distorted beliefs, Schemas

Publication Statement

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Most therapists agree that therapy should be a place where the unspeakable is speakable, and the role of the therapist should be to help the client find a way to change by exploring the patterns of behavior that are no longer working for the client. Being blunt in therapy seems to be one of the key factors needed to promote immediacy, to challenge habitual ways of thinking that are not productive for our clients, and to create a relationship that is different from social and professional relationships. However, many therapists have distorted beliefs about using bluntness in therapy to stimulate curiosity and productivity, because of their own schemas/beliefs about what therapy is or about speaking one’s mind. This paper will explore why clinical trainees bite their tongues in therapy, and what to do about it through the lens of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). To explore distorted beliefs that some therapists have about being blunt in therapy, I consulted with fellow students and myself, asking what it would be like to be blunt and say what we are thinking in therapy and, if they felt reluctant to do so, what would be the worst thing that could happen if they would speak out. I have categorized these personal communications down to six beliefs that my fellow student-therapists and I have about ourselves and our clients, that keep us from being blunt in therapy.


36 pages