I think therapists are paid to be your friend. My therapist, including my old therapist, feel like friends to me. This new therapist is pretty professional, though, so far less so with her. Good question, though. I wonder what other people will say!
My friend? NO, my supporter yes while we are in the room together and knowing that if I need to reach out for additional support he is there, yes but I won't ever mistake the relationship that we have built in therapy for friendship.
I had a therapist who said she was my friend and hugged me after each session. I had a hard time with that, because at the end of the session I also wrote a check to her for her services. I don't pay someone to be my friend. I found her to be disingenuous on the border of being a liar. Once I stopped therapy I never heard from her again. My interpretation of a friend does not rely on a payment and if she was truly my friend she would have contacted me outside of her office time. Therefore I have a strong aversion to someone trying to manipulate me into feeling comfortable and trusting with them giving an impression they are my friend. I don't need a friend like that. With my current T, he is not my friend. I hired him to provide me with his professional services, not for a faux friendship.
Intense, intimate, healthy connection on several levels? Yes. Therapeutic relationship? Yes. Therapy through Aikdio instruction, Yes. Friend?? NO!! While there are times I wish we could be, this is what I need now, and this is all I get from him. I don't know his personal struggles, he doesn't look to me to support him in troubles, and we never do anything that is not strictly therapeutic for me. He is not my friend, but he is a very GOOD therapist!
employee. I guess she could say goodbye at any time but I also believe she has clear guidelines for doing so to avoid loss of license, so not like a more conventional employer/employee relationship. I can decide if she gets more of my money, but I am unclear if she can decide to stop taking it once we have started therapy. I know our sessions are confidential unless I threaten injury to any person including myself and I think admitting to planning a felony, but not sure if even that allows an abrupt stop without risking action by the state board.
I guess I am unclear on the specifics but I definitely believe I am her employer and the cashed checks seem to bear that out.
No, my relationship with her is much deeper than friendship - I wouldn’t share with my friends the things I share with her and they wouldn’t respond the way she does (thank goodness sometimes). There’s a purpose in my relationship with her and it’s a very “friendly” relationship but it’s not friendship.
Like @Suzetig said, friendly but they can't be our friends. There are distinct differences in boundaries and limits of conversation and even affection between friendships and therapeutic relationships.
In the therapist's office we lay out bare our minds and feelings in order to get better.
With friends we can get all sorts of support that therapists can't give us, but they're not trained to handle our heavy stuff.
It's very important not to confuse those two things.
Another one here for: we are “friendly” but not “friends”.
Although we share deeply personal stuff with our therapists, it is not a personal relationship but a professional one. We pay them to hold the space for us; to constantly hold us in positive regard; to accept us and not judge; to always focus on us - our needs, our agenda - and to act in a way that is in best service to us.
A relationship with a good therapist may feel equal in that you may feel you are both partners in how you do the work. But it is not equal in terms of the things above.