I don’t counsel my friends. I think if I tried my friends would tell me off. When a friend asks for help they often want your advice or a want a chance to be listened to and understood. In counselling client and counsellor are not friends. They do however often have a very powerful relationship where the client will develop a level of trust with the counsellor and can then explore issues at a deep level. Here is a really good fact sheet which tells you what counselors and psychotherapists do.
What do we do however if a friend asks us for help?
I often think its a good idea to watch out for some of the signs that mean your friend may need some help. This could be that they appear sad or depressed. They may be spending increasing time alone, avoiding company or be much quieter than usual. Perhaps they are drinking too much or maybe rapidly loosing or gaining weight. To be honest there are many signs.
I always think its important to take their situation seriously, some friends may not be open as they think their problem against others in the world may appear trivial. Try telling your friend your worried about them and would like to help. Its good to try and listen without judgement. This can be really hard if you do have strong opinions on what they are saying.
I often think of the quote by Anthony Haden Guest when he said,
“Of course I can keep secrets. It’s the people I tell them to that can’t keep them.”
Being able to keep the confidence of a friend is one of the best gifts you can give them unless you fear for their personal safety. I often judge this quality by noticing how people represent and talk about others. I find this help me decide if they are someone worth trusting.
In the next two weeks I will be covering Mental Health Awareness Week and will talk more about how to help colleagues with a mental health problem or notice when someone at work is in difficulty.
Counselling can be a positive option for someone who feels that for what ever reason they dont want to discuss their issue with a friend or family member. Our cousellors are trained to deal with a diverse range of situations including helping people to cope with: anxiety and bereavement, relationship difficulties, sexual and racial issues, child abuse and trauma, as well as personal problem solving. You can read all our client testimonials here which say how the counseling with New Leaf has helped them.
Its fine for you to call New Leaf if your worried about a friend or colleague and just want to talk through how to suggest them seeking a counsellor. Give me Becky a call on 07590684888 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org