As a therapist, I feel it is my duty to know who you lean on outside of your sessions. Social support, also known as your audience, is a key piece of mental health. I actually spend a reasonable amount of time during the assessment phase finding out who in your life influences you, whether positively or negatively.
Yes, you cannot choose your family but you can choose your friends and the time allotted to them if you feel as though they may be on the negative side of support. As your therapist, I would never tell you to cut off people in your life but rather pay close attention to the emotions you feel with your support system.
There are things to consider (and remember) when building your positive audience:
- Understand that not everyone in your corner is good for your growth.
- As you begin to change and grow, those around you may become uncomfortable.
- Pay attention to the formula of conversations you have with those you consider close (e.g. are they one-sided?)
- Are you comfortable in silence with that person?
- Is there any hesitation about asking for your needs?
- Do they celebrate your accomplishments as their own?
These are just a few questions I ask my clients to reflect on when identifying their audience and who they can turn to when things get rough along the journey.