Why talking to friends/family is different from talking to a therapist

You’re comfortable with your friends, they know your history, and you trust and care about each other, so why go to a therapist?

What can a therapist do that a friend can’t?

First, a therapist is confidential so you don’t need to be worried that your stories and thoughts will spread to a wider social circle, (even if you “swear” your friend wouldn’t do that).

Additionally, a therapist is trained to recognize your patterns, whether those are good or ones that don’t work well in your life. The therapist can then teach you how to act against those bad patterns you might have.

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Friends may not be completely honest with you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Therapists know how to say things that are meaningful, direct, and effective, yet aren’t so painful. A friend is also more likely to interrupt you and offer his/her opinions throughout the conversation, which is not always the best for you. A family/friend is also usually unable to be objective since they share a relationship with you.

Therapy focuses on you. All that is required is that you feel safe and comfortable and you share what you’re thinking. With a friend, they might interject the conversation with anecdotes about themselves and their difficulties, and this is not helpful to you.


Most importantly, a therapist can produce a safety net for you to practice embracing emotions that you are not used to. A therapist also can provide many other safe resources for any other difficulties you might be having outside of the time that you meet.


Source: GoodTherapy

Source: COMPASS Mental Health Consultants

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