In the counseling profession it is said that the most important thing in creating positive change for clients is to have a positive therapeutic relationship with them. What this means is that clients feel safe enough to open up and get honest with what is going on in their lives and to share the issues as a means to create positive change. The foundation of this process is trust.

The level of trust we have in our relationships is demonstrated in the level of sharing we are able to do with others. When we communicate with strangers, we limit our communication since we have no history of how safe it will be to share. As relationships grow and develop, we start to open up and share more. The more open we are with our emotional truth, the more we are able to trust that relationship.

Some people indicate that they trust everyone and are willing to share everything about themselves with others, yet what they actually share is very limited. While they may be sharing to the best of their ability, there is another level of sharing that requires a deeper level of trust. Most of us have not experienced this level of trust or sharing because we have not been taught that it is acceptable to share at this level. In fact, many times we have been taught to shut down this level. This level of sharing requires the ability to connect with and feel our true feelings.

True or straight feelings do not hurt ourselves or anyone else when they are felt, yet they tend to be hidden by our sideways feelings. Since we have been taught to hide our true feelings, it becomes difficult to feel safe with and express this level of feelings.

To assist a person in getting to this level of trust and sharing requires patience, support, encouragement, guidance, and examples. People are very fearful of trusting enough to share at this level.
Trust is earned and is sensitive to the environment as well as the behaviors of others. Many people have indicated that they trust no one. When they share their stories, it becomes clear why they have so little trust in others.

Trust is a process that grows and is earned. The greater the trust, the deeper the relationship is and the safer each person feels with the other. This type of trust grows as the relationship creates deeper levels of safety. As the safety increases, the deeper truth has greater opportunities to come forward.

Any time we have a goal of creating trust, it’s important to limit judgment, criticism, control, and advice. These behaviors are counterproductive to trust since they foster some level of fear. When we attempt to control, we exude our own fear. The other person is able to recognize this fear. Creating fear and anxiety limits the opportunity for trust to grow. The more we feed the pattern of fear, the less trust is able to grow. The more we are able to limit our judgment, criticism, control, and advice, the more opportunity we create for trust to grow..

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