Depression Relationship Therapy
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by Karen A. Solomon, LCSW, BCD, CGP, CHt

Friends provide us with many of life’s necessities including companionship, compassion and the opportunity to see the humor in our trials and tribulations. They share our celebrations and our defeats, our highs and lows. Friendship is also a curative factor in the recovery process after being sick or hospitalized. Studies have demonstrated that those with good support systems including caring and supportive friends recover faster from serious illness than those who may be more isolated. Although families may offer similar sustenance, the emotional and relational ties in families often complicate the healing connections I am referring to.

Friendships also have inherent challenges. Although we may be genuinely happy for a friend’s success and have been there to cheer them on, we might feel envy as well. We may be jealous of other friendships they have. We want them to be happy, but feel excluded or left out. Competitive feelings may also arise even with close friends. It is difficult to understand how we can feel so many conflicting or contradictory emotions, but they are part of being human. Accepting our own responses and learning how to manage these feelings is crucial to the success of the friendship.

We may find it easy to talk to a good friend about our families, jobs and our inner struggles; however, it may be harder to talk about our relationship with each other and the conflicting emotions we experience. If we can talk these feelings out, that level of honest communication may deepen the friendship and provide opportunities for personal growth, however, this is unusual even in the closest of friendships.

We enter relationships with our own unique set of ideas regarding what we expect from one another. Often our expectations are not the same as those of our friends. The problem may be that we think our concept of friendship is universal and when friends do not behave in the ways we assume they “should,” we may be disappointed or hurt. More likely, it is just that they have a different set of expectations. Negotiating what works may mean accepting the limitations of certain friendships and deriving gratification from the unique benefits a friendship provides, even if all our needs are not met. We may even have different friends who meet different needs. We may socialize with some, cry with others and go to the theater with another.

If you consistently struggle with friendships or find yourself more frequently upset and disappointed than gratified by your relationships, you may benefit from speaking to a professional. A therapist may discuss specific treatment modalities such as group and or individual therapy in order to address these interpersonal difficulties. Friendship can enrich our lives and provide us with unique opportunities for sharing and human connection.

Karen A. Solomon
Office : 631 - 543 - 2050

Commack, New York 11725

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