How Essential is it that Patients Tell the Truth?

Every therapist working with adolescents has had the experience of being questioned by parents who don’t think the child is telling the therapist the whole story.  But in Psychoanalytic Social Work (June, 2010), Ron Langer discusses a case where he serendipitously discovered that much of what the patient talked about was not true; yet the patient’s mood and functioning appeared to significantly improve over the course of the therapy.  Using the work of Otto Fenichel on pathological lying, he concludes that sometimes, believing the patient is more important than knowing whether what the patient is saying is true.

The moral of this, as we discuss at length in On Good Authority’s program, “Facebook and Google and Twitter—Oh My!” is don’t snoop around online for information about your patients!

You can learn more about this program by visiting our course catalog for details.