Compulsive Lying Treatment (Online Therapy Anywhere)
You know the truth. And you know that deep intimacy and self-esteem are impossible without it. So how did the occasional little white lie become a habit, a strategy?
More importantly, how do you turn it around? How do you stop lying habitually, regain your sense of self-worth, and return to a life of trusting, secure relationships?
The first step in recovery is to understand it. To get to the bottom of why you do it.
At Bayside Psychotherapy, our therapists are trained in a broad range of treatment methodologies. We have solid experience successfully treating compulsive lying, as well as other addictions, compulsions, phobias and mood disorders.
Why do people become addicted to lying?
Compulsive lying usually starts during childhood, often as a way of coping with difficult feelings of shame or anxiety. Growing up in an emotionally unsafe environment (where certain thoughts and feelings are considered ‘wrong’) can also lead to habitual lying. But there are other possible reasons as well. In many cases, the cause is opaque, at first.
Lying becomes an attempt to avoid difficulties, even though new difficulties often result from the lies. In some cases, individuals believe deep down that their true self is flawed and not good enough. They feel they need to lie to win the acceptance and approval of people they value.
Others lie to carve out a certain kind of perceived psychological space between themselves and the other. This is especially clinically apparent with individuals who feel smothered or otherwise controlled.
Over time, whatever the original motivation, lying can become addictive. A habit. It feels more comfortable and more normal than telling the truth, to the point where many compulsive liars end up lying to themselves as well.
Unfortunately, without targeted treatment, compulsive lying can last a lifetime.
Call our Highett offices on (03) 9557 9113, or use our contact form for more information.
How would it feel to escape your webs of deceit and start afresh?
The cascade of compulsive lying
While lying may have seemed to make life easier in the past, you’ve probably already realised that it can have a significant negative impact on your work, on loved ones, friends and colleagues. Even on strangers! It can ruin your career, tarnish your reputation, and destroy relationships.
Deep intimacy requires trust. Friendships require trust. Fruitful working relationships require trust. Without trust, everything you say is called into question, and every important person in your life feels betrayed and uncertain about your true intentions and feelings.
Just as importantly, your lying habit may be preventing you from getting what you need from your relationships. Many individuals who lie compulsively are chronic people-pleasers who bury resentment, and don’t feel capable of expressing what they need or want. Since their partners, friends and colleagues don’t even know they’re unhappy, there’s virtually no chance of improvement.
There’s also some evidence that indicates lying creates personal distress even when the liar ‘gets away with it’. There’s the constant anxiety about getting caught in a lie — the pressure to remember their stories and manage the snowball effect of covering up lies with lies leads them to feel fake, worthless and powerless to set things right.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Unravelling the interior tangle of trauma and denial and ungrained behaviour can be tricky on your own. But you can get help to address your pathological lying and set your life back on track.
How can you stop?
Admitting that you have a problem is the first, courageous step in overcoming your lying problem. Seeking professional treatment for pathological lying is the second.
Our psychotherapy, counselling or hypnotherapy services are available to help you identify and address the underlying causes of your lying addiction, so that you can better work towards the goal of stopping altogether.
As you begin to gain insight into the causes and patterns of your compulsive lying, you’ll be better equipped to anticipate and control it. You may notice an improvement in your relationships and a significant increase in your self-confidence — not the false, uneasy confidence that lying temporarily provides, but an authentic feeling of self-worth.
Psychotherapy involves deep, honest self-enquiry designed to transform the inner conflicts that give rise to excessive lying in the first place. It requires commitment and the courage to confront painful, long-suppressed emotions. But the more thorough the therapy, the more confident you can be of achieving lasting results.
What can you expect from your confidential ‘treatment for lying sessions’?
We offer counselling, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy, depending on the therapist, via Doxy, Skype or Zoom. Bayside Psychotherapy provides a safe, supportive, accepting environment, without shame or judgement. Compulsive lying is not something you should feel ashamed of or try to hide; it’s just a disorder that needs treatment — ideally from someone who can provide an objective and informed perspective without sacrificing empathy for the real pain a lying addiction can cause.
During your first visit, you’ll be able to discuss your problem in confidence, ask any questions, and decide if your psychotherapist is the right fit for you. This session will give us an initial insight into the issues involved in your pathological lying, and help us understand what you want to achieve.
After the first session, we’ll work with you to create a treatment plan. We may propose hypnotherapy to help change your habitual patterns of thoughts and responses, for example. But every case is different. We believe in combining different approaches, including mindfulness therapy, attachment therapy, Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or (Neuro-linguistic programming) NLP, for example, to create a therapy program tailored to your individual needs.
Importantly, we don’t just treat your symptoms; we aim to help you discover the causes of your compulsive lying, so you can live a more satisfying, fulfilling and authentic life.
How long will treatment take?
Some clients report that their treatment started showing results within the first few sessions. However, almost every compulsive liar requires longer term psychotherapy for meaningful change. Although you may begin to experience improvements quite quickly, our therapy is not a quick-fix solution. We believe it’s important to hunt down the underlying causes for problematic behaviours so that you can live a more satisfying, fulfilling and authentic life.
We’re committed to helping you, but you need to be committed too. Everyone’s circumstances and reactions to treatment are different but your progress also relies heavily on your willingness to participate in therapy.
Have questions about treatment?
Call Bayside Psychotherapy on (03) 9557 9113, or use our contact form to find out if we can help you let go of habitual lying. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.
Or book now for a face-to-face session at our Highett clinic, or for secure online therapy.
Note: Whilst we will do our best to assist you, we rely on our clients’ full commitment to and participation in the treatment process to optimise results. Although some of our therapists work with people presenting with this condition, no guarantees of any outcomes can be made.
Reception phone hours
8:30am – 5:30am
Monday – Friday
(closed on public holidays)
Choose your own date and time for an online session
- Monday 8:00am to 8:00pm
- Tuesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Wednesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Thursday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Friday 8:30am to 8:00pm
- Saturday 8:00am to 6:00pm
Frequently Asked Questions
Whilst there has been little research into whether compulsive lying may be a symptom of depression, the true causes of compulsive lying are unknown. However, research suggests that compulsive lying may be a symptom of another condition.
For instance, it is a feature of several other personality disorders such as Bipolar Disorder; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Impulse control issues; Substance dependency; Borderline personality; or Narcissistic personality. Interestingly, all of these illnesses can cause depression as well as compulsive lying, yet to state compulsive lying is a symptom of depression would be incorrect - they are simply two separate symptoms of an underlying mental illness or disorder.
A core feature of a pathological liar is that they generally have no obvious motivation to lie. Because of this, it can make it frustrating or even difficult to know what to do if you think you’ve met one.
It is often possible to tell if and why someone may have told us a lie. This is usually an incorrect or false statement they make to benefit themselves, such as to avoid stress, embarrassment, or anxiety. Whilst this is generally in the instance of a simple white lie, there are a few tell-tale signs to help recognise a pathological liar.
For example, a pathological liar may lie for no obvious reason, with lies that do not seem to impact or benefit them in any way. Their lies seem to have no clear benefit, which can be particularly frustrating because the person lying doesn’t seem to gain anything from their lies except to distort or manipulate the truth. In addition, the lies they weave are often theatrical, complex, and extremely thorough.
Pathological liars tend to be great storytellers and, even though their lies are quite obviously over-the-top, they may be very convincing – leading you to doubt yourself and what you believe to be the truth. A pathological liar may often show themselves to be the hero or victim in their lies, to invoke either awe or pity in the listener. Along with this, pathological liars sometimes seem to believe the lies they tell, weaving stories that fall between obvious lying and delusion, in simpler terms - they seem to believe their own lies.
It can be problematic to distinguish how to deal with a pathological liar, especially one who may display a sense of delusion and believe in their lies. There are a few coping methods for dealing with a pathological liar, such as not losing your temper with them - it’s important not to let your anger get the better of you.
- Remember, it’s not about you - it’s difficult not to take it personally when lied to but remember the person may be experiencing an underlying disorder.
- Be kind and supportive, but firm - remind them that you value them for who they are and that they don’t need to impress you with their lies.
- Don’t engage or encourage them – you may choose to question what they’re saying, but advise them that you don’t wish to continue the conversation if they are lying.
- Suggest medical help - suggest that they consider professional help, without judging or shaming them, reminding them that your suggestion comes from a place of concern and care for their well-being.