Some friendships last for a lifetime, but I sure hope that your relationship with your counselor won’t last that long. On the contrary, have you ever talked to a loved-one who is a TERRIBLE listener? You love them, but you really can’t or shouldn’t talk to them.
The best illustration I heard from an introverted friend about talking to a terrible listener feels like unclothing themselves, but nobody covers them with warmth and acceptance. They feel exposed, ashamed and vulnerable.
Well-known researcher of Shame, Dr. Brene Brown, from the University of Houston made a list of 6 types of people who do not deserve to hear your shame story.
A good counselor is a trained listener to encourage you to embrace their vulnerability with healthy boundaries. The safety from confidentiality should be an environment for the client to feel comfortable to explore their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can thrive and bear fruits.
Friends Can Be Biased
Although it might not be the case all the time, but sometimes, our loved ones can love us so much that they are too biased to be only see one side of the story. It might be even worse if they jump to the “let me fix your problem” mode with those biases. It feels so much more exhausting to share your story than not sharing your story.
Friends Can Be Judgmental
Are you friends with Mr. and Mrs. Know-It-All? They make you feel so dumb after talking to them because, you know, unlike you, they know it all. Not to mention, even if they don’t think that you are a burden, you hate to feel like a burden to them. When you see a counselor professionally, you do not have the guilt of unloading the junks of life to them. More importantly, even if your friend did not judge you, the people they shared with might! Your counselor is not going to tell your co-workers, in-laws or your church members about it. Confidentiality is HUGE in counseling.
Friends Might Turn You Into Their Comforter
Have you ever shared something with someone that you had to turn around to make them feel better? They might be SO sorry for you that it makes everything awkward? Alternatively, they seemed so shocked hearing about your vulnerable story that you no longer want to open up? I have worked with different interpreters who are not trained in counseling; what happened sometimes is that the interpreters who are not used to hearing difficult stories or emotions might be in shock or deep sorrow after hearing the stories that the client turned around to comfort them.
Listening is one thing, empathic listening is something else. Being vulnerable to someone who is not trained can be painful or detrimental. If you have more questions about professional counseling or would like to schedule an appointment, you may visit here.