Sometimes talking to a friend can be helpful and counsellors often encourage clients to use their family and friends as a source of support. However, there are some disadvantages to using friends as your only confidants and support.

Friends and family could feel a conflict of loyalty and find it hard to keep things confidential. They may become upset themselves by what you are telling them and could become upset if you don’t accept their advice. They may judge you or change the way they see you as a result of something you disclose to them.

Counsellors’ training means they have formal support and a work structure which helps them to deal with upsetting and difficult situations; friends may begin to feel overburdened, especially if they have their own problems too.

Counselling works so well because your counsellor is not your friend or your family member. They are outside of your social circle and don’t have a prior relationship with you. Whilst you will build a close, caring relationship with you, you will not have the same emotional ties that you do with family and friends. This means your counsellor is better able to be impartial and non-judgemental. A professional who is trained and experienced can offer you a different kind of support, helping you feel and think differently about yourself and others. A therapist should not have an agenda as your friends and family might.