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Friendly Rants or a Therapy Stance?

We have all been there – called up a friend, and used them as a source of emotional output to let out our frustrations, doubts, and fears, and afterward, we feel like the weight has been taken off our shoulders. Our friends are perfect sources of emotional and physical support, and the people who love us will always be here for us when we are going through difficult times. But, the weight that our friends take off of our shoulders, does it always stay feeling that light? Well, I wish it were that easy, but as much as our friends can be there for us, it is very different from getting the professional help that only certain individuals can provide.

And that is through… therapy.

Now, what is therapy? Well, many people can say that going to a therapist is no different than going to a friend and talking about our issues; so why would you waste your time to pay someone to listen and talk to you, right? It may seem obvious to some and not to others, but therapy is extremely different from having a heart-to-heart with your friend.

Listening is KEY

Other than stating the obvious differences between friends and therapists (which I will say later), there are more subtle differences that you might not have thought about before. To put it very simply, being an excellent listener defines the essence of a therapist. While your best friend can try their best to act as your therapist, friends, and family often struggle with listening to what you are saying, remaining impartial, giving advice, or wanting to solve your problems – or they might even have their own motives when offering solutions! While it is especially important to have a stable support group of friends and/or family, it is not the same as the support from a good therapist. So, what really is the difference between friends and therapy?

Therapists Undergo Extensive Training and Years of Study

The obvious difference between a therapist and a friend is that therapists go through years of schooling and training to learn how to support their clients in the best way possible. Many of lifes stressors are talked through with friends, albeit on a somewhat superficial level, but when these stressors/problems are intense or become more profound, therapeutic intervention is necessary to reach the root of the problem or to even find a solution. While friends will usually support your point of view and agree with you, therapists might challenge your thinking – potentially opening up a new perspective for you to look at.

Another aspect of therapy is that it is all about you! There is no need for filters, it’s an open, confidential space to speak your mind without worrying about people’s opinions and perspectives.

Therapists offer nonjudgemental environments where they strive to gain better insight into the issues at hand, assess behavioral patterns, and promote long-lasting change.

Therapists and other streams of counseling are REQUIRED to keep what you say confidential. Even if whoever you speak to swears that they will keep your secret, you never know for sure if they will. But, therapists are the best secret keepers. Being ethically and legally obligated to keep conversations confidential, the space is guaranteed to be safe and unbiased.

In conclusion, therapy offers a distinct set of advantages that make it a great choice for addressing life’s challenges. It brings expertise, objectivity, and in-depth exploration of underlying issues. Unlike friends who may have their own biases, therapists are trained to guide their clients through their emotional struggles and empower them with coping strategies for lasting change. Ultimately, therapy is an investment in one’s mental health, that can lead to profound transformation.