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How is talking with a helping professional different than talking with a good friend?

While you may have an exceptional friend to talk with, consider what we may expect from in a professional helping relationship.

A trained helping professional will…

  • Understand your psychological needs and processes for supporting those needs.
  • Be prepared to be fully present and focused on you and your topics.
  • Have a clear understanding and intention about the purpose of the time together.
  • Be reliably consistent in their conduct and skillful in the interaction.
  • Be responsible for their own feelings and responses in the relationship.
  • Maintain an appropriate blend of empathy and objectivity for your needs and challenges.

While some people may have a friend who functions like this, with a skilled, helping professional there is no question that they are there to give you complete and undivided attention the whole time. There is a clear role for the professional’s position and a clear purpose for this conversation – the professional is there to facilitate a process by which you can make progress toward changes that you desire for yourself.

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