Everyone talks about going to therapy and how beneficial it is, but why would you need professional therapy if you can just talk to your friend?
I get it! I have some amazing friends who are incredibly supportive in many ways, but nothing is like talking to a therapist. Have you found yourself toying with the idea? Are you apprehensive about starting the process? Here are my top 3 reasons why talking to a therapist is more beneficial than sharing issues with a friend...
1. Our Lips are Sealed
Therapists are ethically and legally obligated to keep your secrets. Have you ever told a friend something and they promised not to share it, just to find out that they had? Like when Pam asked if you were ok, because Susan, after a few too many at happy hour, shared with Pam that you were toying with the idea of leaving your spouse? Therapists are bound by HIPAA, state licensing requirements, and ethics to keep your confidentiality. Before or during your first session, you will sign a confidentiality agreement that can only be broken for the following reasons: you are a threat to yourself, a threat to others, or you report abuse or neglect of a child or elder. Please speak with your therapist about the exceptions of confidentiality so that you are fully aware of the limitations. Know that you will not be the topic of conversation at your therapist's dinner table, as therapists do not want to be sued for breaking your confidentiality.
2. No Judgment Zone!
Therapist are objective and unbiased. When speaking to your friends, they are often attached to what you share about yourself or a situation in which you are involved. Either of you may censor yourself from what you wish to say to keep from getting in a fight or hurting the other’s feelings. With a therapist, they have no emotional stake in what you are sharing. They are trained professionals who are able to look at each situation objectively and with no attachment, which will provide you the best treatment as well as empathetic, non-judgmental guidance and insight.
3. its all about YOU! (my favorite reason).
In therapy the focus is you and only you. When speaking to a friend about an issue, you can have feelings of guilt and/or obligation. You may have guilt because you feel you talk too much about yourself or a sense of obligation to ask them about their life, although you are not able to be present due to your own inner struggles. In therapy, the session is solely dedicated to you and what goes on in your life, focusing strictly on what you want or need to discuss and/or process. You don't have to worry about feeling needy or living up to others expectations. The therapist is solely there as a support for you and is not looking for anything reciprocal.
Friendships and therapy are different. Protect your friendships and cherish them because they are special. Set good boundaries for yourself and leave therapy for the trained professionals. If you are in New Jersey and looking for a therapist, I'd be happy to set up a free phone consultation to discuss how we could work together. If you are outside of New Jersey and are looking for therapy, I'd be happy to help you with referrals or point you in the right direction.
Therapy is not just for people with "issues". Therapy is for people! Let's be proactive instead of reactive