Hey Therapist Friends! Let’s Heal Together
Today, we are covering how to cope with being “the therapist friend.” Have you heard of this? A Therapy Friend is someone in a friend circle whom one can turn to in times of distress for support and advice. They might not always be qualified therapists but are seen as people in our life who will always be ready to listen and give advice.
Being a good friend to others and giving them advice means that you have a big heart. You care about people and hate seeing someone you love struggle. Don’t we all? I want you to know that you are doing amazing and to keep your head up if you are the therapy friend, but there are a few things to be mindful of to not burn out or feel overwhelmed. Self-care is a routine that requires attention and loving yourself.
Self-love and self-care remind you that the #1 top priority is you!
When you are constantly solving your friend’s problems and they keep coming back to you, it drains you mentally and emotionally. It makes you feel like a dump truck, and we want to prevent that from happening.
People do not see what goes on behind closed doors. It’s really hard to advise others when we are not sure if our friends are taking it. You reason in your mind “…but it’s okay …we will figure this out together”.
Here are some tips that I recommend to cope with being the therapist friend.
First, let’s set boundaries.
Setting boundaries is creating a strong barrier between yourself and other people’s needs. It is reminding others that even though you love them, you’re not always available to tend to their emotional needs.
Second, consider planning a friend date or adult play date.
Whether it is a picnic date or a shopping spree, do something that you both share an interest in to switch from a focus on problems about difficult topics to relief and release, and fun.
Finally, try to focus on how you feel in the role of therapy friend and communicate it to your friend.
Sometimes when friends rant to you about their lives, they don’t know if you have the mental and emotional capacity to hold space for them on that day. It is your responsibility to share your current emotional state and to express this to them. They may not like it, and may even push back and make you feel guilty. Again, stay true to your boundaries. We have them in place for a reason. Explain to your friend that even though you want to help them, you’re not in a good position mentally.
Remember you matter too! And Your emotional wellness is critical to your self-love and self-care. I hope that you feel noticed and heard after reading this, and take care queens!
In Your Wellness
Briana Ricks, BA Intern Stockton University
Angela R Clack, PsyD, LPC Practice CEO, ACS