The Benefits of Healthy, Intimate Friendships

Strong, supportive relationships can play a crucial role in the treatment of depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Very often an individual will share their challenges, weaknesses, fears and troubling secrets with a therapist. The individual will leave the session feeling relieved and valued by their counselor. However they will not discuss these secrets, fears and challenges with anyone until they return to their next therapy session. Therapeutic experience and research have shown that deep intimate relationships with others help in the recovery from depression, anxiety, substance abuse as well as navigating relational conflicts. Strong intimate friendships form when an individual trusts another to be vulnerable and share their struggles and secrets. These friendships do not form or develop overnight or within several weeks. Most intimate friendships are developed over a period of months or years. We learn to trust the other individual that they will not hurt us when we are vulnerable and share some of our deepest hurts and emotional pains with them.

We know when we have that type of deep friendship because we begin to view that person as a banker, accountant and director.

The banker is that friend that we go to and share some of our most private secrets and know that the information is locked away with the friend. We know that this information will not be shared or used to hurt and embarrass us. We are truly vulnerable with that person when we are able to provide the dark and hurting experiences that are creating conflict and pain in our life. It is at that moment we know that our friend accepts us unconditionally.

The accountant is that individual that will hold us accountable for our behaviors. We may have recently had an emotionally charged argument with our spouse, partner, colleague or friend. This relational conflict may be impacting our depression, anxiety and recovery from substance abuse. The accountant is able to sit back and objectively see the argument with clarity and a clearer understanding of the events. Our accountant is able to help us understand and accept our responsibilities in the situation. The accountant has the benefit of already being aware of our weaknesses and challenges and helps us to connect the dots and gain clarity on our actions.

The director is that friend which provides healthy suggestions and guidance in addressing those issues which impact our emotional balance and recovery. This friend may provide guidance in repairing and making amends when our behaviors create relational conflicts with our family, peers and colleagues. The director may guide us in developing strong containment and protective boundaries. We trust this individual to provide us guidance that is healthy, sound and helpful. There is deep belief and understanding that our director has our best interests and wants to help us a we journey through life.

The challenge for all of us is to identify and nurture the relationships with the bankers, accountants and directors in our life.

Are you seeking to improve your relationships? Please contact me to begin the process of intimacy work.