You may wonder why people go see a therapist or a counsellor. What can a counsellor or psychotherapist offer that a good friend can’t? The benefits of therapy are numerous.
First of all, one the benefits of therapy is that you can talk to someone who will keep all your secrets. You don’t have to worry about anyone ever finding out about your inner fears or whatever it is that you want to talk about, as psychotherapists (all mental health professionals for that matter) are bound by rules and ethics. One of those is to keep your discussions confidential.
The only exception to the rule would be if child abuse was divulged or if a client threatened to harm themselves (for example: suicide) or harm another person. In those instances, a counsellor would be bound by ethics to share that information. Apart from those three instances, therapy is completely confidential. I have had clients tell me about affairs they are having and all sorts of other personal information and it has never been shared.
Therapists are trained to listen and to know what to look for when a client is speaking to them. They automatically look for patterns of behaviour, possible triggers for that behaviours as well as thinking that may not be completely healthy. A friend on the other hand, will be supportive but won’t have the necessary training to help you get to the root of the problem. Therapy brings about long term changes for the better whereas most casual conversations with friends only help us to feel better temporarily.
A good therapist will help you to gain more insight into your own behaviour so that you are able to be more mindful of what you are doing and saying. Looking at the context and the bigger picture is immensely helpful in dealing with unhealthy patterns that we all get into.
Another benefit of therapy is the fact that you can talk to someone completely objective. When you talk to friends or family, they may be slightly biased in their advice. A psychotherapist will be gentle but they will offer you a new persepctive on an old problem.
There are additional benefits too Just having someone to talk to can relieve inner tension and stress. It can be very comforting to know that there is someone who understand and is aware of what you are going through. Therapists are non-judgemental and would never tell you that what you are doing is wrong. They may ask you what you gain from the behaviour but they don’t tell you what to do. If they do – find another therapist.
Therapy can overhaul your life in positive ways. Give it a try. When you find a therapist that you feel at ease with, you’re in a very good place to begin shaping your life they way you would like it to be.