Talking to a therapist vs talking to friends

Talking to a therapist can be hard at times since not all people are as comfortable with talking to therapists as they are with friends, for example. But when you consider talking to a therapist vs talking to friends for a certain length of time, you come to realize that you should have talked to the therapist instead. Or you might have wanted to visit one of the top online therapy sites. Friends are amazing but they are simply not qualified to help you with your mental health issues. In this article, we are going to explain exactly why that is the case and why talking to a therapist might be in your best interest.

The importance of talking to someone about mental health

When you have mental health issues, the worst thing you can do is bottle them up. You need to talk to someone and tell them what you are experiencing. That is the only way you will be able to deal with your problems. Here are the main reasons why you may want to open up to someone:

  • Talk is important for diagnosis
  • Simply talking can help with depression
  • You are not supposed to fight a mental illness alone
two people talking
We all need to talk with someone from time to time.

For some people, talking in person can be very challenging, especially for those suffering from anxiety. Luckily, these days you have easy access to all of the best online anxiety treatment options. You have the option to schedule your treatment when and where it suits you. Whether you want to attend the sessions from the comfort of your home or from another location, you can. But it is important to start talking. Let’s see why is that, exactly.

Check out prices on the best online therapy platforms today!

View Prices
View Prices

Talking to either therapist or friends is important for diagnosing your mental state

The first step in handling your mental health issue is diagnosing it. While some people are fully capable of making the diagnosis on their own, most people need someone to help them with it. While talking to either a friend or a therapist, you will get insights into your mental state and be able to draw rational conclusions. As you might expect, there’s a world of difference when talking to a friend and attending one of the best online CBT therapy sessions, for example. You may even not know that you have a mental health problem before talking to someone. Thus, the sooner you start talking, the better.

All of us need a support system. Life throws curveballs at us at every corner, after all. Talking about our issues might not be the most pleasant thing in the world but it is what keeps us going day after day.

Depression is handled more easily when you talk

two people considering talking to a therapist vs talking to friends
Even talking to a stranger can be beneficial.

If you don’t talk while you’re depressed, chances are that you are not getting better anytime soon. In the worst case, you may even think about harming yourself and act upon it. All of this can be prevented if you simply talk with someone about your issues. Curing depression is a long road, yes, but it all starts quite simply – with talking to another person. Whether that person is your friend, your therapist, or a random person on the sidewalk, it is important that you start talking. Of course, you will get the best results with the therapist than with a friend, and you may even find talking to strangers to be detrimental. So do that only as a last resort.

But starting to talk can be quite hard. One of the most common reasons why people avoid starting therapy is the fear of being judged for their issues, after all. But it gets a lot easier as soon as you start. The first step is always the hardest one.

It can be impossible to deal with mental health issues on your own

Do you know why Chester Bennington of Linkin Park committed suicide? Neither does anyone else. If someone knew about his mental issues, they might have found a way to help him. And Chester is just a big name that represents many people across the world. Having a mental issue and not talking about it is pretty much the worst thing you can do. It can make your problems even worse and you might find that they become really hard to deal with in due time. In fact, managing clinical depression is all but impossible to handle on your own. You simply need help from other people. It is nothing abnormal to need some help from time to time.

Talking to a therapist vs talking to friends

There are two options that most people choose from when dealing with mental health problems: Talking to a therapist and talking to their friends. To put it quite simply, talking to a therapist is almost always the better option. You will need to know how to recognize a bad therapist, of course, and you may need to switch a few of them before you finally “click” with your therapist but that is just the way it goes. Talking to your friends might seem like a really good idea, as they know you best. But there are significant drawbacks to doing so. But we will get to that shortly, let’s see why exactly talking to a therapist should be your primary recourse.

Check out prices on the best online therapy platforms today!

View Prices
View Prices

Pros of talking to a therapist

person looking at a camera
You need an attentive listener.

While your therapist might be a complete stranger at first, there are numerous benefits of talking to one. They can help you deal with panic attacks more easily, for example, and it is their actual job to cure people of mental problems. Your friends most likely do not possess similar qualifications. Here are some of the pros you get when you talk with a therapist:

  • Honesty
  • Qualifications
  • Objectivity
  • Confidentiality
  • Undivided attention

Next, let’s explore these in a bit more detail.

You can be completely honest

The truth of the matter is that all of us are projecting an “image” when we talk to others. We do this instinctively. It is perfectly natural that you want other people to think the best of you, after all. But when you get to talk to someone that is a professional, that is there to help you and do nothing else for the moment, things change. You can be completely honest and be sure that your therapist is only looking at you from a clinical perspective.

Your therapist is qualified to help you

Professional therapists have studied to be able to help other people with their mental health issues. They have achieved qualifications in the field of psychotherapy. If you mention behavioral activation to your friends, chances are that none of them even heard about it. But it might just be the thing you need. Your friends may not know that but your therapist will. Mental health is a very very complicated subject, as every single individual is unique. Even the most experienced therapists are sometimes incapable of figuring out the best treatment for every individual. It is just the way it all works.

When considering talking to a therapist vs talking to friends, qualifications are probably the most important factor. You would not want a carpenter to do your electric installations and you would not call an electrician for carpentry, either. While both of these professionals might “dabble” in the other field, they are simply not as proficient as true experts. And that goes the same for therapists and friends. One is simply more qualified than the other.

Therapists are completely objective

two people in a conversation
Mental health issues all but require objectivity.

Another thing that you simply can’t expect from your friends is objectivity. Being objective is actually extremely hard to do, even therapists struggle with it. We all add at least some subjectivity to whatever we do. The problem is that your mental health issues all but require someone to look at them from an objective standpoint. They might look absolutely devastating to you and your friends, but they might, objectively, not be as bad as you might think. By talking to a therapist vs talking to friends, you can almost guarantee that you get an objective outlook.

Full confidentiality

Every session that you attend that involves a professional therapist benefits from full confidentiality. Unless you are considered to be an imminent threat to yourself or others, you can be sure that there will be no confidentiality breach. And if that situation occurs, it is in your best interest that the confidentiality breach happens. And if you happen to choose online therapy, confidentiality is pretty much one of the greatest advantages of online counseling. The very option to attend the sessions from the location of your choosing simply cannot be understated. If you don’t want anyone to know that you’re attending therapy, you have the option to do so with online therapy.

Check out prices on the best online therapy platforms today!

View Prices
View Prices

Undivided attention

Do you find it annoying when you are talking with someone and they constantly check their phone? This behavior shows, at the very least, divided attention, meaning that the person you are talking to is trying to do several things at once. And that means that they are not focusing enough on your problems. By talking to a professional therapist, you are certain to get their full attention. At that particular moment when the therapy is in session, they are there for you. And no one else. Undivided attention is extremely important to have when dealing with any mental issue.

Talking to a friend

two friends laughing
Talking to your friends may be fun but they might not be qualified to help you with your mental issues.

Even though talking with a therapist brings so many advantages, some people still choose to confide in their friends. While this might not necessarily be a bad thing, there is a lot to consider when it comes to talking to a therapist vs talking to friends. Here are a few examples of why it might not be the best idea to talk with your friends about your mental issues.

Honesty can be challenging

It is extremely hard to be completely honest with all but the best of friends. In truth, most people do not even have such a friend. And even if they do, talking honestly and presenting yourself in a “bad” light is all but impossible to most people. And you need to be completely honest about your mental state if you want to see any progress.

Biased perspective

We mentioned how objectivity in psychiatry is very important in mental health treatment. Aside from usually not being able to be objective, your friends will also have a biased perspective on mental health. Some of them might want you to “shrug it off” while others may fuel your depression even further with their own fears and concerns. The fact of the matter is that it is practically impossible for non-professionals to leave their own biases out of any conversation about mental health.

You can’t guarantee confidentiality

While this might be a smaller issue than the others, the fact that you simply cannot guarantee that your friend will not breach the confidentiality of your conversation is a scary one. You may think that you know someone extremely well, only to have them gossip behind your back. It may be ugly but it happens. And you might never know that it did.

You can get bad advice

Lastly, all your friends will try to help you, it is only natural. We want to help our friends to the best of our ability, that is how friendships work. But the issue here is that most people are simply not qualified to provide good advice. For example, let’s say that your relationship is the cause of your mental issues. Most friends will simply say “end the relationship” there and then. But that may be the furthest thing from what you actually need.

Talking to a therapist vs talking to friends basically comes down to being qualified to help with your mental health issues. The more severe the issue, the more the scale tips in favor of the therapist. If all that you need is to talk to someone, and “get a load off your chest”, then talking to your friends might be the best option. And it will cost you a lot less.

Check out prices on the best online therapy platforms today!

View Prices
View Prices

Consumer Opinion Guide understands the importance of talking through issues with other people. That is why our team researched top rated online therapy companies that people can turn to in their time of need. Rather than struggling with everything going through your mind, reach out to one of the many qualified remote therapists via video and start working toward a better lifestyle.

Latest Posts