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When we don’t properly understand counselling, it’s easy to assume it won’t be more beneficial than talking to a friend. Like a relationship with a friend, seeing a therapist involves conversing with someone, being vulnerable and maybe receiving advice. These aspects of therapy are, however, only a small part of the experience. This article will explore the benefits of talking with a professional therapist.
A counsellor (or therapist) can do many things that a friend can’t do. First and foremost, therapy is completely confidential. You can speak freely, without fear that your story will be gossiped about. Many people get a lot out of the privacy that a therapeutic relationship is bound by. Suppose you have powerful feelings about something, such as fear, anger or shame or embarrassment, you can talk about them freely and openly.
Secondly, a counsellor is trained to see your patterns, both good and bad, that may not be working well. These patterns can be shown to you, and then together, with the counsellor, bring out more of the good whilst learning to bypass the not-so-good. For example, many people keep choosing the same type of partner repeatedly. They need to learn to make better choices both in their own behaviours and in their friends.
Thirdly, friends may not be totally honest with you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. A counsellor doesn’t want to hurt your feelings either, but knows how to be straightforward and direct, and knows how to say things in ways that won’t be so painful. If the feedback is painful, treatment can also be used to help you feel safe.
If therapy was only about paying someone to chat with, it would actually be a waste of money. But conversation is only the surface layer of therapy, and the conversations you have with your therapist will be a far cry from anything you’ll experience with a friend.
Here are some aspects of therapy that provide long-term value and go beyond the kind of chatting you could do with a friend:
Counsellors have bachelor’s degrees, a master’s degrees and sometimes doctoral degrees. These degrees involve opportunities to work with more experienced therapists. In order to graduate, they also have to complete a certain number of supervised hours in a clinical environment and pass several exams.
This isn’t to brag. This isn’t to say all counsellors know everything there’s to know about the human mind and therapy. However, these years of training and experience give counsellors the skills to better treat your mental health challenges than any unlicensed friend could.
A therapist can help you manage friends’ expectations, leading to friendships being more satisfying and comfortable to cope with during moments when they disappoint or falter. Yes, therapy will cost you some money, but it will save your friendships. And the benefits of therapy will improve all aspects of your life.
Remember, though, you’re not alone. There are people willing and waiting to help. Get in touch with Restoration Therapy, and we’ll put you in touch with a counsellor.