What Are The Most Common Things That Therapists Say to Their Clients?

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Erica Barnes


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Therapists play a vital role in supporting their clients’ mental health and wellbeing. The therapist-client relationship is built on trust, respect, and effective communication.

While each therapeutic relationship is unique, there are some common phrases and sentiments that many therapists express.

Validating the Client’s Feelings

One of the most important things a therapist can do is validate how the client is feeling. This shows the client that they are heard and understood. Common validating statements from therapists include:

  • “It’s understandable that you feel that way.”
  • “Most people would feel the same in your situation.”
  • “You have every right to feel angry/sad/afraid.”
  • “I hear how confused you must feel, and it makes sense given the circumstances you’ve described.”
  • “This seems like it’s been really overwhelming for you, which is a natural response to such challenging situations.”
  • “Your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to express them, no matter how big or small they may seem.”
  • “It sounds like you’ve been carrying a lot on your shoulders; it’s only natural to feel this way.”
  • “I can see why you’d feel that way, and I’m here to help you through it.”
  • “What you’re going through would be tough for anyone, and acknowledging your feelings is an important step toward healing.”

Validating difficult emotions helps clients open up and makes them feel supported rather than judged. By mirroring the client’s emotions accurately, therapists help clients explore these feelings more deeply. This method can be likened to providing a safe harbor in a storm; it offers clients a place of safety from which they can examine their troubles without fear of judgment.

Helping Clients Feel Heard

Validating client’s emotions shows them their feelings are important and understood. This level of empathy builds trust. Further deepening this trust, therapists can ask thoughtful, open-ended questions that invite clients to elaborate on their feelings and experiences, ensuring they truly feel heard.

Such dialogue helps clients articulate their thoughts and feelings more clearly, enhancing their self-awareness and growth. Over time, this consistent validation and attention help strengthen the therapeutic alliance, making therapy a safe space for clients to explore and resolve their issues.

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Normalizing the Client’s Experiences

Many clients feel ashamed or alone in what they are going through. Therapists often try to normalize clients’ reactions and experiences to provide comfort. Example statements are:

  • “Lots of people feel that way.”
  • “That’s actually a very common reaction after a trauma.”
  • “It’s normal to feel that way after a breakup.”

Letting clients know their experiences are shared by others can greatly reduce self-blame and isolation.

Additionally, integrating questions can further validate and explore the client’s experiences, such as:

  • “Can you tell me more about what’s behind your feeling of sadness?”
  • “What does the fear feel like for you on a day-to-day basis?”

Reducing Shame

Normalizing helps relieve unwarranted shame and self-judgment many clients feel. By conveying that their feelings and experiences are shared by many others, therapists can significantly diminish the isolation that often accompanies shame.

Additionally, discussing the commonality of these feelings in a non-judgmental setting encourages clients to view their experiences through a more compassionate lens. This approach not only alleviates shame but also builds trust between the client and therapist, further facilitating a supportive and healing therapeutic environment.

Encouraging the Client

Therapists frequently cheer on and motivate their clients to keep persevering. Uplifting statements therapists often say include:

  • “I’m proud of the progress you’ve made.”
  • “You should pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come.”
  • “I admire your strength and resilience.”
  • “I know you can overcome this challenge.”

Words of encouragement validate growth and give clients confidence.

Encouraging Phrases
“I believe in you”
“I’m proud of the progress you’ve made”
“You’ve shown so much strength and perseverance”
Table 1: Examples of encouraging phrases therapists often say

Instilling Hope

Encouragement provides clients with greater motivation, self-efficacy, and optimism.

Offering Reassurance

Clients struggling with anxiety, depression or difficult life events often need reassurance. Therapists provide this through empathetic and understanding statements like:

  • “This feeling will pass, and better times lie ahead.”
  • “There is always hope, even during our darkest moments.”
  • “You have people who care about you and want to help.”

Hearing a caring professional say things will be okay can be incredibly comforting.

Soothing Fears

Reassurance helps calm clients’ worries and validates that their troubles are temporary.

Providing Perspective

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When clients are stuck in negative thought cycles, therapists will often gently provide a more balanced perspective. For example:

  • “Let’s look at this situation from all angles.”
  • “Could there be another way of viewing this?”
  • “You’re ignoring aspects of yourself or situations that don’t match your storyline.”

Introducing alternative viewpoints allows clients to break out of narrow or self-critical mindsets.

Broadening Lenses

Offering wider perspectives acts as a cognitive antidote to self-limiting thought patterns.
By introducing alternative viewpoints and challenging rigid beliefs, therapists can help clients recognize and consider new possibilities and solutions that they might not have identified on their own.

This process encourages clients to step outside their comfort zones and see situations from a more objective angle. Ultimately, this broadening of perspectives can lead to significant shifts in behavior and improved coping strategies, fostering personal growth and resilience.

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Imparting Psychoeducation

Therapists share expert information to increase clients’ understanding of their issues. Psychoeducation statements include:

  • “Let me explain the effects trauma can have on the brain and body…”
  • “The way you were raised primed your nervous system to be hypervigilant…”
  • “Your anxiety is triggered by situations that your limbic system interprets as dangerous, even if they objectively aren’t.”

Learning the psychological, emotional, and neurological processes behind their struggles helps clients make sense of them.

Demystifying Conditions

Psychoeducation empowers clients via knowledge and destigmatizes their suffering.


Therapists tailor their language and verbal support to each client’s unique needs. However, these examples reflect the most common sentiments expressed to provide validation, encouragement, reassurance, and education. The compassionate words a therapist shares can profoundly impact a client’s healing and growth.

As clients navigate through their therapeutic journey, the adapted and personalized communication from therapists plays a crucial role in addressing specific emotional challenges. This individualized approach not only enhances the therapeutic experience but also deepens the client’s engagement and trust in the process. Ultimately, the thoughtful choice of words and the sensitivity to the client’s emotional state can accelerate recovery, helping clients build resilience and a healthier mental outlook.

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About the author

Erica Barnes

Erica Barnes

I’m an African American woman living in New York, with a Bachelor's degree in Communication. I’m passionate about researching mental health topics, spirituality, and breaking down stigma in my community. I’ve dedicated my life to shedding light on important issues surrounding mental health and working towards creating a more understanding and compassionate society. As a researcher at Therapy Helpers, I’m here to use my skills to educate and inspire others through insightful articles. Thank you for being here!Social

5 thoughts on “What Are The Most Common Things That Therapists Say to Their Clients?”

  1. I found the article on common phrases therapists use very enlightening. Could you provide examples of how these phrases are used in different therapy sessions, like cognitive-behavioral therapy versus psychodynamic therapy?

    • I’m glad you found the article helpful. In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), therapists often use phrases like “What evidence do you have for that thought?” to challenge and reframe irrational thoughts. In psychodynamic therapy, a therapist might say, “What does this remind you of?” to encourage exploration of past experiences that influence current behaviors.

  2. this article provides a valuable window into the common language used by therapists and highlights the key elements of a supportive, growth-oriented therapeutic relationship. It’s a helpful resource for anyone considering therapy or looking to understand more about what to expect from the process.

    • I’m grateful for your feedback and glad that the article served as a valuable resource for understanding the common language used in therapy. Thank you again for engaging with the article and sharing your reflections.

  3. fantastic put սp, very informative. I’m wondering why thе other experts of this sector ԁo not understаnd this.


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