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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is my uncontrollable lying a coping mechanism or something else?

    I am 22 and in 2012 was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, anxiety and PTSD after being sexually abused and raped over many years. When I first got help for my issues, my GP, psychiatrist and psychologist all agreed that I was making up stories as a coping mechanism. But two years on, fortnightly psychologist visits and multiple medication changes(current is pristiq and seroquel) and I can't control the lying consciously it just happens then after I am aware of it and it makes me feel worse. My psychologist still thinks its a coping mechanism but I don't think it is. Any thoughts? Its making each day harder.
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    Jeremy Barbouttis

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, Sex Therapist

    Jeremy is an expert in Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, Sex Therapy, Relationships & Addictions. Jeremy is a Clinical Supervisor with the Australian Hypnotherapists Association.Specialisations: Stop Smoking Hypnosis, … View Profile

    I can really understand your frustration in not making progress or change to your lying. All people learn to lie as a matter of course, usually for self protection. However, the complusive nature of your lying as you describe suggests a deeper need. ‘Coping mechanism’ may be a catch all phrase which may or may not feel right to you. I am not sure of how your psychoglogist is working with you, but you might consider deeper therapeutic approaches that give greater insight into the lying, and that can lend themselves to modifying/resolving this compulsion/tendency at a deeper level. This will probably coincide with working on your other conditions.

    Another way of thinking about it is that a part of you, in your unconscious mind, has to lie. It is this part of you that needs to be helped.

    One such therapeutic intervention is Hypnotherapy, another is Emotionally Focussed Therapy. Both of these therapies help with PTSD, depression and anxiety, and EFT particularly has a good research foundation demonstrating efficacy in this area. Such interventions are often used simulteneously.

    If you are not making progess after all this time, I highly recommend you look them up.

    I have had success helping people with compulsive lying using Hypnotherapy alone.

    If you want further information, please contact me. I would be only too happy to assist.

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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    It sounds like you perhaps have an idea about what function lying serves for you that the phrase ‘coping mechanism’ doesn't seem to capture? 
    You may find it helpful to deepen your own enquiry into what the lying is about - here are some questions that may help you think about it some more.
    * What is happening for you when you find that you are lying more often?
    * What is going on in your life when you find you are being more truthful?
    * How do you feel when you imagine being truthful all the time, in all circumstances?
    * What does lying achieve for you?
    * What does telling the truth achieve for you?
    * Have you made a list of the ‘pros and cons’ of lying? What would be on each list? Which list has more going for it?

    It is important to think about these (and I'm sure you could generate many more) questions with an attitude of being non-judgemental, non-blaming and genuinely curious - as though you were just getting to know the part of yourself that lies a little better.

    You are the expert about what is really going on for you - counselling works best when it helps you connect to your own answers in a way that makes sense to you.

    Good luck!

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    Thanks

    Karen Amos

    Counsellor, Personal Trainer

    Walk and Talk is just what you need to begin living a life that you love. I'm Karen Amos and at Walk and Talk Australia … View Profile

    Vivian and Jeremy have provided some great answers to your question with alot of information there for you to explore.  I simply wanted to share an article with you that I read recently about lying.  It appealed to me as I used lying alot in my teens and twenties and found it quite the challenge to curb and eventually stop.  This article helped to explain why I chose lying Vs the truth.  I'm not sure if it will have any truth for you but it can't hurt to share.  It's not called Healthshare for nothing right?  

    I sure hope you find a way to that helps you find the truth amongst all the pain you have experienced to date.  Kindly - Kaz

    http://www.oprah.com/spirit/When-to-Lie-When-to-Tell-the-Truth

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