Have you ever heard the phrase “having friends who needs a psychologist” or “the best therapy is to go out with your friends”? In truth, the contact of both our friends and other types of close people, suppose great benefits on our mental health , especially as prevention and protection against sources of psychological discomfort, provided that these friends are healthy, or any of our sources of social support be honest and strong.

Having a coffee and talking about our daily problems , which are not few in all types of people, is something healthy and that helps us to cope. However, in cases where we suffer from constant discomfort, and even when it begins to interfere with daily life, our friends and girlfriends do not always suppose the therapy we need. With this we do not mean that they are not important, nor can we do anything when someone around us suffers, but we cannot substitute psychological help for leisure time or mere relief. We tell you why.

Advice is not enough

Friendships always act with good intentions towards the people who matter most to us. Thus, when someone around us, a friend or a close friend suffers, we try to help them with the resources that are closest to us: our advice, what we would do. Because we want, as soon as possible, to get our friend out of that situation , so we go directly to the solutions.

However, the solutions we propose are not always the right ones or the ones that can help our friend the most. We can see clearly what is the way out of a situation such as suffering anxiety , depression, being immersed in a toxic relationship that causes us emotional dependence, a phobia that is limiting our freedom of action, etc .: ” you have to leave “,” you have to go little by little “,” you must not suffer so much for such insignificant details “,” you have to forget it “,” you have to leave it “,” you have to face it “,” you have to give step “, etc.

In these situations, it is no longer that the recovery process is very complicated, but that the mere fact of finding the tools to take any first step is impossible for the person who suffers. Even if you know what you should do, you don’t know how. It simply is not capable. He does not have the same perception as us, nor the same coping strategies, nor can he feel the same security, nor the same pleasure, nor the same feeling of improvement. You do not know what can motivate you to keep going, sometimes you do not know if it is really worth it. Therefore, if we have some kind of serious emotional discomfort, fears, if we live in situations that cause us great anguish, and the people we want to support ourselves with judge us or force us to do something we do not want, the only way that relieves us is stop seeing those people, as much as we appreciate them.

What the psychologist actually does

The psychologist or psychologist we go to has the necessary knowledge and experience to know how to act in each specific situation. He will do a preliminary study of what happens to the person who consults him, what type of disorder, syndrome or specific situation he is closest to (there is not always a labeling situation, only a source of discomfort that generates certain behaviors and discomfort) and what may have caused it. For this, specific techniques are used , from psychological tests, to functional analysis of behavior, interviews, records, etc.

We must bear in mind that human behavior is very complex, and everything we are and feel, especially in the case of reaching a situation of psychological discomfort (be it more or less serious), is the result of years, experiences, learning , situations, relationships, thoughts … So in each person there will be a way out of it, and to discover what that path is, the psychologist or psychologist has the appropriate tools. Always, of course, in order for the person to be the active subject of their recovery and going forward , setting the pace and the way they want to do things according to the options they have.

Still, friends play a crucial role in our recovery.

With all this, we do not mean that professional help is the only one that can be given to the person who suffers. Friends, family, partner, colleagues at work or in another area , associations and groups of people who go through the same thing, etc., are of vital importance to help the person overcome their problem. Simply, we all have different roles, but from the psychological consultation the use of social support networks will be promoted to overcome any of the problems we have.

Therefore, the resource that we must put in place as soon as a person around us has some type of psychological suffering, is understanding and support . Although we do not understand the reason for your behaviors and feelings, we must make it clear that we will help you in everything you need and we will respect your decisions. Of course, we recommend encouraging (not forcing) him to go to a psychologist, even if it is only to consult what is happening to him , because he should not remain stagnant and causing his emotional deterioration. For example, people with depression tend to isolate themselves socially, and when they go out with their friends out of obligation, they feel bad, too exposed, misunderstood and totally alien to the situation they live: they do not improve on their own.

Thus, it is important, once the person begins their therapy , to ask how it is going, to be interested in their process, but to respect what they want to tell us and what they do not, without trying to delve into the details. We will congratulate you on any progress you make, no matter how small. We will ask you if it is okay for you to continue calling you, always showing respect for your decisions and your space so as not to harass you. From there, it will be the person who sees how he feels better with us, in what situations, if he asks us to do something for him or her, etc. And let’s not worry, the psychologist or psychologist will tell you the importance of having us , and how to turn to our help. We are all on the same team.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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