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Difference Between a Therapist and Friend

There is much overlap between our relationship with a therapist and that with a friend. In fact, there is a thread of commonality that runs between all of our close relationships. What distinguishes the therapeutic relationship however from any other is that it is conscious. Although the therapist must engage in the relationship in order to have a first person experience of it, they must also stand in observance of it. The latter is what enables a therapist to make sense of the material they are coming into contact with, to reflect on its relevance to the client's dynamics, and to mirror those dynamics to the client. Being conscious is what also helps the the therapist use their subjectivity rather than be used by it. It is the difference between getting drawn by the current and keeping one foot out of the water, enabling the clinician to decide from moment to moment how best to participate in the client's process, whether that be to interpret, question, or simply allow.

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