As some people consider seeking a psychotherapist or counselor (often used interchangeably), they may question how “just talking” to a professional might be helpful. Many of my clients have told me that they believed talking with someone who was not closely connected to their personal situation, and who could remain non-biased, was what led them to make the call. Others are drawn to the therapy because of the confidentiality of that space. But what makes “just talking” helpful? If you’re considering therapy, though are unsure it would be any more helpful than venting to a friend, consider the following:
Therapists typically aren’t finished with their training after graduate school. Throughout their careers, they are required to continue that education annually and some even begin to carve out specialty skill sets. This professional development doesn’t preclude them from sincerely caring about your well-being. Many therapists enter the field because they believe they are called to care for others while using specific gifts in helping people transform their lives. In fact, many therapists are well-trained in not only the science of psychotherapy, but also the art of it. So while you are doing all this talking in their office, it can feel as comfortable and authentic as if you were just sitting down with that trusted friend. The exception is that you have the undivided attention a trained professional who is focused on only you.
If you suspect working with a therapist or counselor might be a good fit for you, I recommend you research those in your area. You have every right to make sure the one you choose is skilled in the area of your need and is trained to give you the best possible care. The healing agent of talking might be what you need.
People shy away from vulnerability because they judge it as a sign of weakness. In fact, it is the opposite. It is a step of courage. I consider the many service members with whom I've worked that have placed themselves in some of the most vulnerable and risky places on earth - combat zones. The courage it takes to do that is astounding to me. It is also courageous to allow vulnerability in relationships. Listen to Brene Brown, author and researcher, speak on the courage of vulnerability.