5 Reasons Why Going to see a Therapist is Different than Talking to a Friend

Have you ever wondered why someone would want to go and share their business with a stranger? If you have never been to therapy or gone at least once before, but felt it wasn’t helpful, this post is for you. In this post I will share 5 reasons why going to see a therapist is different than talking to a friend.

Going to therapy can be a difficult, yet rewarding experience. You don’t know what to expect if it is your first time. Your only example may have been what you seen on TV. You may have possibly gone, but didn’t get out of it what you were hoping for. Therefore, when you do go you think you’re going to sit in silence, possibly lay on a couch, maybe they will ask a lot of questions, you may ask them for advice, they may read your mind, and then you’re “fixed” or have all the answers after 45 minutes. Yeahhhh, that’s not going to happen!

Therapy is a unique experience that is based on a relationship, a collaborative relationship. It provides you with time and space for you to gain self-awareness to help yourself become a better you. This relationship differs from other relationships in various ways, but here are 5 ways it differs from friendships:

  1. It is all about you, yes you!

Often time’s people decide to not share with others because, they do not want to be seen as a burden. Is this you? Sometimes we want to share something with our friend, but can’t get a word in. Is this true? In therapy you don’t have to worry about someone not making space for you to share. You don’t have to be concerned about if you are a burden. Therapists are there to listen. You may feel the urge to want to know more about your therapist. Depending on the therapist they may or may not share because, this time is not about them either and it depends on if the information will be helpful or not. They are there to support you. So for once you have dedicated time that is all your own.

  1. Judgment Free Zone- There will be no shade thrown here!

It may be very well true that friendships are built on love and trust, but because of that trust friends will operate out of what they feel is best for you. Now, granted there is nothing wrong with that, unless it leaves no room for you to express how you truly feel. When talking to friends they are coming from a place of having a close connection with you, which causes them to form a personal opinion. It is unrealistic to think people don’t have some form of judgment in general. Therapists are trained to not let their opinions, biases, prejudices, etc. hinder their work with you. They are there to support you just they way you are to help you get to where you want to be. Of course, if you are doing something that may be a danger to your health they may share their feelings, but otherwise they support you with whatever you are experiencing. No issue is too big or too small.

  1. Confidentiality- What’s said there stays there!

Yes, we all know that friendships come with one key component: the person has to be your ride or die. Sometimes people cannot hold water and have to spill the tea to someone else. By law your therapist has to keep what you share confidential. Of course, there are some pieces of information that would cause them to have to break that confidentiality (if you were going to harm yourself or someone else, etc.), otherwise their lips are sealed. Since this law is set in place, therapists are able to create a safe space for you to feel comfortable to share what you need for healing and growth; without you having to worry about if they are going to spread your business to everyone behind your back.

  1. Information Proven to Help- They can show you the receipts!

Therapists don’t operate out of advice. From time to time they may share a piece of advice if it is helpful, otherwise they use techniques that are proven to be helpful by research. Different things work for different people, but they are able collaborate with you and find what works best. Therapist have gone to school to receive master degrees or higher and are usually licensed or gaining hours towards licensure (like myself 😊). Yes, we all have life experience that comes in handy. Therapist can combine those life experiences with the facts!

  1. They Help You Express Your Feelings In A Healthy Way!

Ok, let’s be honest. Sometimes we want the friend that is our better half and gets us into shape. Other times we want that friend to tell us what we want to hear and hype us up to go and run up on somebody. Therapists will give you the space to explore both reactions and the feelings underneath. They will help you find healthy alternatives to express yourself and feel empowered with out busting the windows out of someone’s car or resulting to other violent acts. Facing these emotions won’t be easy, but they will be worth it.

There you have it, 5 reasons going to see a therapist is different than talking to a friend. This post was not created to talk down upon friendships, but to show that going to therapy can be a great addition of support. There is no guarantee that all therapist sessions will have all of these components due to everyone being different. Hopefully this helps make you aware of what the experience could be.

Always Live Lovely,


For more information about finding a therapist in your area refer to the resource page http://alwayslivelovely.com/resources/ .

Written: March 18, 2018


Although I am a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and registered associate professional clinical counselor, the contents on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and judgment of a health care or mental health professional. There is no Therapist-Client relationship created by accessing the information on this blog. Always seek the help of a physician or qualified mental health professional if you have any questions regarding a medical or mental health condition. Always Live Lovely is not held responsible for the use of the information provided. Reliance on any of the information provided by this blog only is solely at your own risk. Please see Health Disclaimer for further information alwayslivelovely.com/health-disclaimer/ .

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