Why Therapy is Different from “Venting” to a Friend

A common myth about therapy is that you just show up and “vent” about your problems. Venting can be helpful to release your emotions, I know I am happy to be a sounding board for people. But venting is something you do with a friend or family member when you are upset about something. Venting helps you feel better in the short term but doesn’t lead you to any long term healing. Venting can lead to friends offering quick fixes and you may not feel truly heard or validated.


So then how is therapy different than venting?

Therapy is about the therapeutic relationship, having someone objective to discuss your concerns with. I see the Therapist role as a gentle guide to help you feel heard, understood and assist you to a bit deeper than venting can reach. Therapists are trained to be compassionate listeners but also won’t “one up” you in conversations, which can happen with friends. Therapists are listening to what you are saying but also listening for what you “aren’t” saying.


We offer a nonjudgmental space of exploration and can help you discover thought or behavior patterns that could be making you feel “stuck.” Therapy is also a space to learn some new skills and new ways of being. You can also discover how to reframe unhelpful thoughts and practice new skills in safe environment. Good Therapists will also challenge you to step outside your comfort zone to help you heal and find growth. This is something you won’t find with a friend when you are venting.


Therapy can help you discover ways to better manage your inner critic and begin speaking with self-compassion to yourself. With a Therapist, you can trust that what you say will remain confidential unless you are going to hurt yourself or someone else. With friends or family, sometimes you just never know if it will stay with them!



Remember that therapy goes much further into helping you grow and heal from the past and be able to improve your relationship with yourself and others. It is a much more rich process than simply venting since it involves moving deeper into issues and helps you finally get some long term relief. Have you been unsure and anxious to try therapy? You can get a free 20 minute consultation with one of our Therapists to answer your questions and let you know what we can offer you . Feel free to reach out today at pathtohopec@hushmail.com.