Laura Hunter Therapies

Why Can’t I Talk in Therapy?

Embarking on the journey of therapy can be a profoundly transformative experience, yet it’s not without its challenges. One hurdle that many individuals face is the difficulty in opening up and talking during sessions. This silence can be puzzling and frustrating, both for the person seeking help and their therapist. But why does this happen, and what can be done about it? In this blog post we’ll explore the emotional triggers that might prevent someone from talking during therapy, how therapists can support their clients through this, and strategies to overcome this obstacle.


The therapy room is intended to be a sanctuary of sorts—a place where one can speak freely, without judgement. However, the reality is that for many, the act of verbalising thoughts and feelings can be daunting. This hesitation to speak is not a sign of failure but rather a part of the complex human experience, and can happen to the most outwardly confident individual. Understanding the roots of this silence and how to navigate it can significantly enhance the therapeutic process, helping you to get the best results from your sessions.

Emotional Triggers and Silence

Several emotional triggers can contribute to silence in therapy. Shame, fear, and past traumas are among the most common. Shame, deeply tied to our sense of self, can make us feel unworthy of speaking our truth. Fear—of judgement, misunderstanding, or opening old wounds—can paralyse us. And trauma, with its profound impact on our psyche, can leave us speechless, literally and figuratively. Recognising these triggers is the first step toward addressing the silence they may cause.

The Therapist’s Role

A therapist’s approach to silence can significantly affect the therapeutic outcome. Therapists are trained to create a warm, patient, and inviting atmosphere that encourages dialogue without exerting pressure. They understand that silence can be communicative and respect it as part of the healing process. By gently inviting a response when the client is ready, therapists demonstrate their commitment to proceeding at a pace that feels comfortable for the client.

Overcoming the Difficulty of Silence

Overcoming the challenge of silence in therapy requires patience and a few strategic approaches:

  1. Writing: Sometimes, the written word can be a precursor to verbal communication. Writing down thoughts and feelings before a session, or even during, can help bridge the gap between internal turmoil and external expression.
  2. Small Steps: For those who find it hard to dive into deep emotional waters, starting with more superficial topics can help. Discussing day-to-day activities or neutral topics can warm up the conversation, gradually building toward more substantial issues.
  3. Visualisation and Relaxation Techniques: Engaging in visualisation or relaxation techniques before or during therapy sessions can reduce anxiety and create a more conducive environment for open communication. Breathing exercises, in particular, can help calm the nervous system and make speaking feel less daunting.


The inability to talk in therapy is a common challenge, yet it’s one that can be overcome with understanding, patience, and the right strategies. Whether you’re struggling with emotional triggers, seeking the right therapist, or exploring new ways to express yourself, remember that progress in therapy often comes in many forms, including silence. If you’re looking for support in finding your voice in therapy, I invite you to book a discovery call with me. Together, we can explore the best path forward, ensuring that your therapeutic journey is both rewarding and transformative. Remember, in the realm of personal growth, every step, no matter how small, is a step forward, and sometimes that step looks like simply saying something.

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