Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Economics of Therapy

For a long time I've thought most therapy can be replaced by a good set of friendships. Here's a conversation between two bloggers that reveals a flaw with that belief:
Penelope: Why are you not in therapy? It's so fun.

Ben: Because I can talk to you, Chris, etc.

Penelope: I am not your therapist, though. Friends are not therapists. Friends do give and take. You can just take from therapists. Which is why self-discovery goes so much faster in therapy. You should try it. You're so into experiences!
Friendships have a certain percentage give and take, unlike therapists who are equipped to just give, not counting the bill of course. So once again an economics question. If your productive enough to use your vocation to pay for your therapy, then go for it. If you're poorer, then your time is generally worth less and you'd probably rather use the longer, friendship route.

Also, there are plenty of examples where therapists' expertise exceeds the value of existing friendships. No matter how much I love someone, I don't feel equipped to counsel them through abuse, divorce, etc. However, there is one benefit you get from relational therapy that you can't get from professional:
Ben: To play devil's advocate, I sometimes find I learn things about myself when I'm giving advice to others. That is, during the "give."

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You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.