Counselling versus talking to you friend
Talking to a friend may be free of charge, but working with a counsellor will give you the cognitive and therapeutic skills to live a happier life.
When we don’t completely understand what professional counselling is, it’s easy to assume it can’t be more beneficial than talking to a friend. Like a relationship with a friend, seeing a counsellor involves conversing with someone, being vulnerable and maybe receiving advice. If counselling was only about paying someone to let you vent or chat with them, it actually would be a waste of money.
The ‘talking’ aspects of counselling are only a very small part of the therapeutic journey.
The conversation you have with the counsellor is only the first level of counselling. The media and film depictions of therapy make it easy to assume counselling is nothing but pointless talking.
Once you learn the differences between working with a therapist and talking to a friend, it will be easy to see how therapy might be worth the investment. It’s more than paying to chat with someone, and it carries fewer risks than treating your friends like a counsellor.
The value of this therapeutic process goes beyond the kind of chatting you could do with a friend. In professional counselling you will experience the following:
- Learning how to better identify and manage emotions.
- Reviewing beliefs that affect your life.
- Exploring new perspectives on situations and people.
- Learning how to improve good relationships and manage toxic situations.
- Revising behaviours, decisions and patterns.
- Understanding how the past is affecting the present.
- Exploring therapeutic techniques that work for you.
- Assisting you to be more authentic and understand who you are.
Dr Barbara Louw empowers you by helping you to utilise her Wholistic Wellness Coaching Model for growth and well-being.
Some people assume that counsellors will only affirm what they are already thinking, something a friend could do for free. With friends, there is no guarantee the ‘secrets’ you share will be safe. They might gossip or not realize the information was supposed to stay confidential. This is a huge risk when friends become angry or jealous. Your secrets could then spread around your social circle and damage other relationships.
Dr Barbara Louw challenges your thinking so you can try new ways of improving your life. She assists you in taking your life’s story and focusing on dealing with the current issues and to focus on solutions.
The therapeutic relationship is also fundamentally different than a friendship. Some friends are great listeners and give advice that works. On the other hand, a counsellor has the skills and training to help improve your well-being without risking damage to your relationships.
Dr Barbara Louw spent years training so she can provide the various aspects of counselling and coaching. She earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and three doctoral degrees. These studies and her 30+ years of practical community and practice-based experience gives her the skills to help you to put the trauma behind you and to become well and whole.
In counselling clients don’t need to worry about disagreeing or becoming upset with the therapist. Looking at matters from various angles is within the boundaries of a healthy therapeutic relationship. Although conflict is a normal part of life, no one wants to strain friendships if they can avoid it. People tend to avoid disagreements with friends even if the conflict might provide valuable insights. Or maybe the friend will become upset if you don’t take the advice they give.
Working with a counsellor will yield positive results and has little risk. It can also help you improve relationships with the friends you might have been considering using as counsellors.
Counselling helps you to understand what boundaries you should have in your friendships and family relationships. You can learn how to identify unhealthy relationships and boundaries. Your counsellor can help you manage expectations of friends. This can make your friendships more satisfying and easier to cope with during times when friends disappoint. New friendships will also be more genuine and open.
Counselling will cost you some money, but it will save your friendships. The benefits of counselling will improve all aspects of your life and well-being.
*Wholistic refers to whole-person well-being.