How many friendships of yours have broken or frayed away simply because the both of you couldn’t ‘deal with things’, or simply ‘fell apart’ or ‘couldn’t come to terms with the same things’? Friendships like every other relationship that humans have, has its ups and downs and the patching up often takes more than going to their door with a tub of ice cream or giving them a lift to their next stop or binging in the backseat of the car. Sometimes you go the extra mile and take your friend to therapy. Yes, you do that. But before we get to that, to answer a very important question.
Can two friends see the same therapist?
There is often the question of whether you can see the same therapist as your friend or as someone you know. The answer lies in the therapists’ hands. Though impartiality is something that all therapists are expected to abide by, human nature sometimes interferes. As impartial as a therapist maybe they sometimes choose not to see two people who are related so that their interaction with one is completely independent of any prejudices formed by their interaction with the other.
What is friendship therapy?
When two friends opt to go to the same therapist at the same time and sort out their issues while having professional help, it constitutes friendship counselling. Is it popular? Not much, but experts say that it is increasingly gaining popularity as adult relationships are tough to navigate. In order to know if you are the right candidate for this, there is a set of points that you can go through:
- A gap in communication with your friend
- If the two of you need an unbiased opinion to figure out the lapses in your friendship
- If you or your friend finds it tough to express emotions in casual settings but would feel more comfortable doing it with professional help
Friendship counselling can be what you need to salvage your bond. Atlanta-based psychotherapist Shontel Cargill says in an article to Mic “Friendship therapy isn’t typically considered within the framework of relationship counselling, but the dynamic that exists between long-term friends is very similar to that of a couple. Many of the issues that commonly arise in our romantic relationships — communication breakdowns and feelings of betrayal or neglect — can also come up in our friendships and therefore can benefit from the interventions traditionally used in couples counselling.”
Does friendship really require therapy?
Though friends going to therapy is an actual thing, very few would actually go to such great lengths to repair the friendship. But like all other equations, this bond is strained due to the pressure of daily life, conflicts, and much more. If the bond has stood the test of time, it is only wise to try saving it even if the solution is therapy. Nicole Sbordone, a psychotherapist says in an article to Mic “I think it's a good idea when there's been some type of conflict — or maybe when one of you has been feeling upset lately about the relationship. Friend therapy is sometimes discussed as a possibility, but then never happens.”
What are the benefits of going to friend therapy?
A neutral point of view is always great while dealing with a strained relationship. This is where therapy can help. If you are wondering why go the extra mile to sort things out, some friendships are too important to lose. “For friends receiving treatment together, therapy can provide a safe space to articulate needs and work through grievances in a healthy and productive way,” Cargill says. “For people addressing issues in their friendships on their own, a counsellor can help guide you through various stages such as grief, resolution, and healing.”
Why is friendship counselling so rare?
While therapy in itself is clouded with stereotypes and judgements, this has started to ease in the present day. However, friendship counselling is still not a very welcome move and definitely isn’t the first choice of many. While in a relationship, one partner can still call for intervention and say ‘Hey, we need professional help’, this is rarely seen in the case of friends.
Think back to when you went to lengths to salvage a friendship. In general, more importance is placed on romantic relationships than friendships in the society we live in.
So what really happens during friendship counselling?
Dr Miriam Kirmayer, a Canadian clinical therapist says in a podcast to HuffPost “I encourage clients to become more comfortable asserting certain needs or expectations, or boundaries, and really communicating that to our friends. I think what can happen when we’re so close with people, is that we expect them to be able to know what we’re feeling, and we expect them to be able to know what we need. That really ends up doing us a disservice. It really is a matter of finding ways to prioritise quality time in your platonic relationships.”
Are you having trouble with maintaining long-standing friendships? You may want to give the counselling considerable thought. The next time you book a session for yourself, consider booking a friend session and your bond may just benefit from the talk.