Your friends have most likely been a source of strength and support through what you thought were the most unbearable of times. The cathartic conversations that you may have had with each other can almost feel therapeutic. So, what is the difference between conversations with the closest people in your life, and a counselor that you barely know?
Your friend is not objective, and that’s what friends are for! We want them to be our cheerleaders, our teammates, and our fans. In other words, they cannot be unbiased. They may also have a personal stake in decisions that you make. They may win or lose based on choices you make for yourself, therefore, they may unconsciously motivate you towards a certain decision. Also, because our friends are players in our lives, this may compromise confidentiality, something that counselors are ethically obligated to provide.
On the other hand, your counselor is a trained professional ready to be objective, ask the hard questions, and help you work through them. You trust your counselor to take you to what might be an uncomfortable place to work out the hard stuff that you may not even want to tell your best friend. Your counselor also has no personal stake in the decisions you make, has your best interests at heart., and is devoted in helping you reach your own decisions. Though we consider the important people in your life, (we feel that your relationships are more precious than gold), we want you to remember that YOU are the most important person in your life, and consider what is best for you and those you care for. We are there to help you discover what you truly need and desire, and not what anyone else desires for you.
Leana Sykes is a Relationship Counselor and the owner of Leana Sykes Relationship Counseling & Mediation in Oaklyn, NJ.