“Oh! You learn Psychology? Can you read my mind?”
The thing I hear the most when I reveal that I’m a Psychology undergraduate.
No one’s fault it is, but the fact that the word “Psychology” itself has created a sense of power and magic in the world. So, first of all let me define the term for you. In the simplest terms, Psychology is the scientific study of Human behavior and cognition. It’s no voodoo or a magical thing but a Science developed by human for human!
The next popular opinion is “Psychology is all about Counselling”! Hold that thought. This article would end up being a text book if I try to explain the ins and outs of Psychology. Instead I will tell you my point of view on Counselling. It is a journey of self-discovery with its first step being learning to accept yourself completely. Counselling is guidance: something that provides direction as to a decision or course of action. A qualified, professional called a counsellor, initially a stranger will help you to sort out your life and embrace it your way.
So let’s turn to the topic. This is especially for those people who think, “Why should I go to a Counsellor, when I can talk everything with my friend?” True! Most of us have good and genuine friends for ourselves in times of need, but talking everything is rarely possible. Apart from this there are a few other significant differences too. Let’s see seven reasons why Your Friend cannot be Your Counsellor!
- Fear of damaging one’s image in front of a friend.
Imagine that you get to know that your friend is being cheated in a relationship but unable to reveal because the cheater is also a friend of yours. Let’s say that somehow they broke up. You might feel that it is such great thing and feel relieved for your friend. But expressing your feelings to this friend may be difficult. There is always this thought “What will the friend think of me?” That itself can hinder the venting/ sharing with the friend.
- Unbiased exploration is highly unlikely.
It is likely that you would like to share your feelings with a “close “friend”. But at this point, this close friend may know your family or other friends too. In such a situation, he cannot have an objective viewpoint. It’s likely that his suggestions and opinions can discourage you from opening out without either you realizing it. He being your friend, is bound to have a soft corner for you. So unbiased exploration is very doubtful.
There’s a possibility that your repeated sharing may influence your friend that he may also start thinking like you. Even if the friend does not agree with you and thinks you are wrong, he may not be able to express the same for fear of displeasing you or fear of losing the Friendship.
- Discomfort with tears.
It is very common to find people being uncomfortable with other’s tears. We often hear our near and dear ones saying, “Hey please do not cry, everything will be alright”. If the person who is seeking help observes this discomfort, he won’t be able to share any further. The person will not be able to go through the process of grieving effectively. But a Counsellor is trained to facilitate the grieving process, which helps the person to accept the loss over a period of time and move ahead in life.
- Probability of damage.
When you go to a friend with a problem, you don’t have a clue what his frame of reference is. Frame of reference is based on someone’s life experiences, it forms the basis for beliefs and values. Hence your friend’s values and beliefs may not be same as yours. You trust him and he in all good faith, gives his advice which may sometimes not agreeing with your own frame of reference. Following the advice may lead to some negative repercussion which you have to face. If you don’t follow the advice, next time you may feel hesitant to go to him. In contrast a Counsellor only helps, shows the way, brings to your awareness the beliefs and values that you hold, which may or may not help you in a given difficult situation. The Counselor will leave you to make your own decision. A Counsellor acts like a catalyst.
- Possibility of dependency.
When you seek help from a friend, the possibility is high that you may become dependent on him. Each time you have a problem you may run to him instead of finding your own way. What would you do if your friend is not available for you? An effective counsellor work towards empowering clients by making them aware of their own strengths, capabilities and various options available to them in a given situation.
- Sense of obligation.
If you are going through a crisis in your life, you may in need of seeking help from a friend repeatedly. There could be discomfort as you may feel you are intruding. You may be thinking in terms of returning the favor. There is also a possibility of you feeling smaller as he may never come to you with a problem, either because he may not have as many problems as you or he may have other resources. A professional counsellor is doing his duty, so there is no such feeling of obligation.
- Transitory feelings can be misleading.
Sometimes you may share your negativity about an intimate relation strongly with a friend. That feeling may pass off as your negativity comes down, but your friend may not realize that and may continue to think that you carry the negativity within you. It may echo in his future advises to you. A counsellor, instead, will understand the basic fact that “feelings are dynamic” and those acute negative feelings also change with time.
More than anything the skills of a counsellor need to be given the due credit. You may talk about what you are aware of with your friend but the hurt, anger or resentment hidden in the unconscious will remain as they are. The most important skill is that the counselor can facilitate bringing to conscious what lies in the sub conscious or unconscious of the client, and empowering the client.
To conclude, a friend and a counsellor both have their roles to play in a person’s life. None can replace other. There’s no doubt, immense value of sharing with a caring friend, at the same time, journeying along with a counselor can be really life- enhancing. It is like you have a buddy to trip with along with a tour guide!
Note to my friends: Sorry guys! Don’t expect me to be your guide. We don’t do it here.
මෙය විශේෂයෙන්ම, “මගේ මිතුරා සමඟ සෑම දෙයක්ම කතා කළ හැකි විට මම උපදේශකයෙකු වෙත යා යුත්තේ ඇයි?” යැයි සිතන අය සඳහා ය. ඔව්! අපගෙන් බොහෝ දෙනෙකුට අවශ්ය අවස්ථාවන්හිදී අපට උපකාර කිරීමට, සවන් දීමට හොඳ සහ අව්යාජ මිතුරන් සිටී. නමුත් සෑම දෙයක්ම කථා කල හැකි මිතුරෙකු සිටීම දුලබය. මේ හැරුණු විට තවත් සැලකිය යුතු වෙනස්කම් කිහිපයක් තිබේ. ඔබේ මිතුරාට ඔබේ උපදේශකයා වීමට නොහැකි වීමට පහත හේතු දායක වන ආකාරය ගැන මෙම අවකාශයේදී ඔබ දැනුවත් වනු ඇත.
1.මිතුරා ඉදිරිපිට ඔබගේ ප්රතිරූපයට හානි වෙයි යන බිය.
2.අපක්ෂපාතී ගවේෂණයන්වලට බොහෝ දුරට ඉඩ නැත.
3.කඳුළු සමඟ අසහනය.
6.වගකීම පිළිබඳ හැඟීම.
7.සංක්රාන්ති හැඟීම් නොමඟ යවන සුළු විය හැකිය.
“என் நண்பருடன் எல்லாவற்றையும் பேசும்போது நான் ஏன் ஒரு ஆலோசகரிடம் செல்ல வேண்டும்?” என்று நினைப்பவர்களுக்காக இது. உண்மை அதுதான், நம்மில் பெரும்பாலானோர் நமக்கு தேவைப்படும் வேளையில் பலவற்றை பகிர்ந்துகொள்ள உண்மையான நண்பர்களைக் கொண்டுள்ளோம். ஆனால் அனைத்தையும் பகிர்வது அசாத்தியமானதாகும். இது தவிர வேறு சில குறிப்பிடத்தக்க வேறுபாடுகளும் உள்ளன. உங்கள் நண்பர் உங்கள் ஆலோசகராக இருக்க முடியாது என்பதற்கான ஏழு காரணங்கள்,
- நண்பரின் முன்னால் ஒருவரின் படத்தை சேதப்படுத்தும் பயம்.
- பக்கச்சார்பற்ற ஆய்வு சாத்தியமில்லை.
- கண்ணீருடனான அசோகாரியம்
- சேதத்தின் நிகழ்தகவு.
- கடமை உணர்வு.
- இடைநிலை உணர்வுகள் தவறாக வழிநடத்தும்.
Penned by : Rtr.Sakuni Galappaththi (Co – Editor 2020/21)
Edited, translated and published by : RACSLIIT Editorial team 2020/21