When it comes to getting help for your problems and improving your life, people are very generous with giving advice. From marriage difficulties to stress, there are innumerable sources of great advice. Your family, friends, books, newspaper and magazine advice columns, and countless online forums offer advice on nearly every topic imaginable. Advice, however — even the best advice — is far different from therapy.
Offering advice is not what therapy is about, though. Let’s explore some of the differences between advice-giving and counseling.
What Is Advice-Giving?
There is no harm in seeking guidance from a close friend or loved one, but advice has its limits. By its very definition, advice is a recommendation based on opinion. As such, it has quite a few characteristics that contrast with therapy:
- Tells you what to do: When you ask a friend for advice, and they give it to you, their suggestion usually offers a specific solution. Advice doesn’t allow you to consider all the factors or frame situations in a new way, as therapy would.
- Biased: Friends and loved ones are not detached from certain situations or problems, so they’re unable to provide a neutral opinion.
- Makes no room for complexity: From personality dynamics to mental health problems, most people aren’t equipped to deal with real-life complexities. Their advice might not offer a solution that considers all of your needs.
- Can be judgmental: Although friends and family love you, their advice may come across as judgy or preachy.
How Therapy Differs From Advice
It’s important to have strong friendships and loved ones you can turn to for advice. Having confidants supports all the work and progress you can achieve in therapy. However, professional counseling with a trained therapist has distinct benefits you won’t find with even the best advice.
Therapy Is Science-Based
Therapists train for years to learn how to help clients work through problems and find solutions. They understand personality factors, common behavioral patterns and complex mental health needs. While every person seeking therapy is unique, human psychology has many common themes and patterns that your therapist can recognize to help you make the best decision for your situation.
Therapy Is Unbiased
No matter what problems you bring to the table, your therapist is trained to stay neutral and help you come to your own solutions. Their advice is not based on personal experiences or opinions. They also withhold judgment for any choices or difficulties you encounter. Instead, they help you recognize whether those choices are helpful in achieving your goals.
Therapy Strives to Anticipate Outcomes
Because of their extensive training in human behavior, therapists strive to help you consider possible outcomes for the choices you make. Each session can help you think through future decisions more thoroughly and how you may handle potential outcomes.
Therapy Tends to Take Time
Advice from friends or family is nearly instantaneous. Once the advice is doled out, loved ones often want updates or may wonder why you’re not acting faster. Therapy, on the other hand, is designed to help you work through issues at your pace. There is no pressure to act before you’re ready, and you’re never interrogated if you change your mind along the way.
Learn More About Effective Therapy at Taylor Counseling Group
Therapy is a tool that can lead to incredible transformation. If you would like to learn more about this collaborative process that can help you achieve goals or make positive change, we invite you to schedule your appointment at Taylor Counseling Group.