Talking to friends and family in times of difficulty can be incredibly helpful. Often they can provide support to help you through hard times. People are often worried about being a burden to others. However, in most cases, people enjoy being able to support their friends when they are in need.
As good as it can be to get support from people in your life, talking to a psychologist can provide a different kind of support. A psychologist is trained to help you find patterns in your life, identify helpful skills to cope, help you gain new perspectives, and perhaps most importantly, provide impartial non-judgmental support. Some friends and family members are better at providing support than others. If yours are not as skilled at being supportive it can be frustrating to feel that when you do reach out you come back disappointed. Psychologists, on the other hand, have gone through extensive training on how to provide support and tend to be fairly good at it.
Sometimes when you share things with friends or family they give you an opinion based upon what they want for you. For instance, maybe a family member does not want you to move far away so they are biased when you talk to them about the job prospects you are considering. Because a psychologist does not know you personally, they don’t have a stake in what you choose. Their only goal is to help you to do what is going to be best and healthiest for you.
Many people feel they have to censor themselves when talking with friends because they are embarrassed about certain topics or worry what they say will be repeated to others. When you talk to a psychologist, it is judgement free and confidential. Psychologists are used to talking about topics that are typically considered taboo or uncomfortable, and they don’t judge you for thoughts and feelings you may not want to admit to other people. Unless a psychologist is concerned about an immediate safety issue, they are also legally bound to keep what you share private. This means you can talk freely to them without being concerned that someone might hear about the intimate details of your life.
Reaching out for support from the people in your life is a very important skill to learn, and a psychologist can provide forms of support that friends and family often don’t have the expertise or impartiality to provide. Both peer support and professional support can be important at times, and having one does not necessarily mean you wouldn’t benefit from the other.