A child's hand clasps finger of parentIf you or a loved one has trust issues, there are ways to get help. Some methods for treating trust issues may address an underlying cause. This could be a mental health issue like anxiety or a traumatic event in the past.

Therapy is one popular approach for addressing trust issues. It can help people open up and get to the root of what could be causing their issue. A therapist might help someone with trust issues learn new ways of thinking to combat their negative feelings. Or they could help them work through old trauma that is contributing to the trust issues. 

How Can Therapy Help with Trust Issues?

Therapy can help people address and identify the source of trust issues. Being unable to trust can destroy friendships, careers, and marriages. But learning to trust again is not impossible!

Therapy can help people separate past problems from future fears. It can teach them how to rebuild trust in existing relationships.

Trust most often develops over a period of time. With guidance, a person can identify where trust was compromised in the past. In fact, the therapy process itself helps many people learn to trust again. Trust and mutual respect are integral to the therapeutic relationship.

Types of Therapy for Trust Issues

Many types of therapy can help address issues related to trust. Some of them might take place in one-on-one sessions. Other approaches can be group oriented. Effective modalities and types of therapy for trust issues include:

  • Group therapy. Many people find group therapy provides more opportunity to exercise trust than individual therapy. This is because it allows participants to interact with and develop relationships with multiple people.
  • Individual therapy. Meeting with a therapist one-on-one can be helpful when working through trust issues. Therapists can provide a safe, secure, and confidential space to open up.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is often used to treat trauma. This can be helpful for people who have trust issues due to a traumatic event.  
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). This type of therapy is used to treat children and teens. It can help them overcome the effects of a traumatic experience. In this way, it may prevent them from developing trust issues later on.
  • Psychoeducation. This process teaches people more about their mental health condition. People with trust issues may learn how the issues affect them and develop skills to manage the issues.

Therapy for Trust Issues in a Relationship

Couples in which one or both partners deal with trust issues can benefit from counseling. 

Someone who experienced infidelity in one relationship may transfer that fear to future relationships. This can cause pain and turmoil for both partners. A couples counselor can help the partner with trust issues find the issues' cause. They could also help the partner without trust issues understand their partner's behavior and fears. Better understanding may give the couple more empathy for each other. This can strengthen their current relationship.

In some cases, couples deal with trust issues that have a direct cause. One partner may have cheated on the other in the past. An affair may cause deep trust issues in the affected partner. Couples who want to rebuild their relationship must reestablish trust. A couples counselor can help them work toward this goal. In therapy, both partners can express how they feel about the situation. They can address any challenges that arise during the process of rebuilding trust.

Therapy for Trust Issues: Case Examples

  • Fear of infidelity. Liz, 38, continually accuses her husband of cheating on him. She admits she has no good reason to believe this. Liz attributes this to past experiences with boyfriends who did cheat. Therapy reveals she also mistrusted her father, who cheated on her mom. Liz learns to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy people. By learning to trust her own judgment and reasoning, Liz establishes greater intimacy with her husband.
  • Fears related to war trauma. Dave, 27, has just returned from Iraq where he saw several friends die in a battle. He is racked with guilt about their deaths. Dave finds himself terrified most of the time, even at home. He sometimes thinks his wife is going to send him into harm’s way on purpose. Dave has rigid beliefs about what a man should or should not feel, say, and do. For this reason, he has never once cried or become outwardly angry about his experiences. In therapy, he finds catharsis. He begins to establish trust with his wife, which helps regain a sense of normalcy. Support groups with other veterans also help tremendously. Dave feels he can trust them entirely and is able to reconnect socially.


  1. McDonagh, P. (1997, 06). Shared benefits: Group therapy delivers open honest talk with people you trust. Chatelaine, 70(136). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/214083151?accountid=1229