Hey everyone, I’m doing a wee three-part series on What is Your Therapy each Thursday so we can explore the different ways that we get advice, feel empowered, and ultimately heal internal pain. Part one is all about coffee chats!
I was initially going to call this segment the pow-wow (as I tend to use that phrase for intense, purposeful conversations) but upon quick research I realised that this is actually a term used for Native American gatherings, which is super interesting! But of course it didn’t feel appropriate to use for the blog title, so I just wanted to mention it as it pays no effort to be culturally sensitive, and it is always my aim to be as sensitive as possible to all of the wonderful human beings of this earth!
Anyway, I’ll come off of my tangent now and get down to it:
Learning how to calm and centre yourself is something that you need to learn to do (if you want to be a chilled out cucumber and not a bee in a bottle). Learning how to relax is super important for your mental health, and for staving off anxiety when it decides to come and ruin the party. So I’m here to share with you one of my favourite types of informal therapy (aka. a clarity inducing activity); the coffee chats.
Friends can be a wonderful source of empowerment and advice when you need a good vent. Catching up with friends is a form of therapy for many people, as it can help you to get an extra set of eyes on an issue without having to heave out cash for proper therapy (although I would still always recommend proper therapy to basically anyone). Making time to go out for a coffee (or any other delightful beverage) and a chat with a trusted friend can lift the weight of a lot of issues from your shoulders, without having to dump it on them.
I have found that women are particularly good for dissecting issues over a beverage, and when you find friends who are objective but ultimately supportive, you’ve got a winning combo. Just remember that when you ask for advice, you may not always hear what you were expecting, and that ultimately it is no ones responsibility to fix your life or your problems for you. That is all on you my loves. But having a sounding board along the way can help to keep yourself in check, and can be so valuable in those damn-I-need-some-therapy kind of moments.
To get the most our of your coffee chat therapy time, I suggest the following:
- Choose to catch-up with a friend who you not only trust, but who will give it to you straight. There is no point going to someone for advice who is likely to just agree with everything you say because they’re too afraid to piss you off or don’t have a lot of objective skills.
- Let your friend know at the start that you are looking for some advice and want their true opinion. No sugar-coating.
- Expect that you may disagree, and know that that’s okay. At the end of the day, advice and feedback is just that persons opinion, and you can hear it and take it in without taking it on. What you do next is still your choice, and if you have a true friend, you know that they’ll support you, even if they don’t agree.
- Make sure there is room for both of you to talk about whats happening in your lives. Having a one-woman (or man) show with a friend isn’t super fun, and making sure that you are both getting support is important.
- If your friend is in a really tricky spot or in a bad way, don’t be afraid to suggest that they consider going to an actual therapist. Be gentle about it, as a lot of people are still a bit weirded-out by the thought of therapy, but be clear that therapy is an amazing space to unpack issues and get solid, practical, and sensitive advice (keep your eyes peeled for part 3 of this series which is about actual therapy).
Remember- being a good friend is all about give and take. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help when you need it, because those that love you will want to see you do well, and will cherish the opportunity to be a part of your journey to growing stronger.
Next week we will explore the essential therapy practice of alone time.