Therapy Vs Advice: Is There A Difference Between The Two?

Last Update on May 18, 2021 : Published on November 3, 2020

There is no harm in seeking friendly guidance from a close friend but when it comes to therapy, we know that a therapist cannot be your friend. However, a question that pops up in our minds includes why I should seek a therapist, share my problems with them and pay them so much when a friend can help me with good advice. The answer is simple; there is a huge difference between therapy and advice.

There is a saying,

“Teaching people to fish is 1000 times better than giving fish.”

Now, why did I bring this saying up? It is because therapy is about learning to solve your problems and polishing the skill of self-exploration. At the same time, the advice is handing over the fish to someone without acknowledging their choices and needs.

Advice attracts a lot of people because it is a quick fix to your problems and to add more to it, advice makes you lazy too. Whereas therapy may look time-consuming but it helps in anticipation of possible outcomes in the best way possible.

Also Read: Communication And Mental Health: Why Is It The Key To Mental Wellness

Let’s look at an example here to note the difference between therapy and advice.

  • You call your friend for wine and pizza and wish to share your relationship problems to them. However, your friend had a poor relationship earlier and he doesn’t trust the partner at all. Can you figure out the biases of advice that he gives?
  • Now you go to a therapist and share your problem with him. It is possible that he will ask you all the aspects of your relationship before giving professional advice. Moreover, he will also make sure that your advice is backed by scientific evidence and comes out after anticipating all the situations.

A Brief Description About Advice

Advice from our friends and family members is a great way to break the ice but it comes with certain limitations.

1. Advice straightaway ‘tells’ you what to do because it is someone’s opinion. Yes, it is obviously up to you if you want to follow it or not but it doesn’t have a chance for open-ended conversations.

2. There are high chances that advice would be biased in nature. It is because your loved ones will always think about your comfort and would share an opinion that you like to hear.

However, if you plan to take advice from someone who is not attached to you and is still not an expert, remember that they don’t have proven knowledge of the subject.

3. Advice doesn’t consider complications like mental health problems or personal issues within you. Moreover, understand that not all advice is good advice!

4. Another limitation of advice to a friend is that they could be judgy in nature. If you don’t accept advice then your friend might feel hurt and become rude towards you.

However, if you are considering advice from your family and friends then make sure that you are mindful of your decisions without falling into the trap of compulsion.

Also Read: Life Coaching and Psychotherapy: What’s The Difference?

A Brief Description About Therapy

Therapies are a great way to seek help when stuck in a problem as they carry various advantages.

1. Therapies are absolutely non-judgmental and your therapist maintains a neutral approach to figure out the solutions. There are no personal opinions by therapists and they make sure that your solutions are not judged. You can feel free to share your views and choice with them.

2. Therapies are backed by scientific evidence where your behavioral patterns, mental health needs, personality factors, etc. are equally considered.

3. Therapy can take time but enriches you with power to solve problems unlike quick advice. However, your therapist doesn’t pressurize you to undertake decisions and gives you enough time to discuss and think it over.

4. All the possible outcomes are pondered in detail so that you are aware of your decisions and find out best suitable solutions.

Looking at the positives of therapy, you may be able to figure out a difference between therapy and advice and the reasons for inclination towards therapy.

When Must You Seek Therapy?

Advice could still work for many of us but there are instances when you should look for therapy anyway.

1. Personal relationship problems: Whether it’s your partner or interpersonal family problems, the strain within doesn’t let you focus on anything productive. It is best to examine the problems with the help of a therapist and improve such crucial aspects of life.

Also Read: Signs Your Relationship Needs Couples Counseling

2. Mental health problems: It is accepted that your friends and family play a major role in recovering from mental health problems but a therapist acts as a major support during the journey. He helps you with understanding personal needs and becomes a strong support system.

3. Personal trauma: You must look for a therapist if situations like abuse, trauma, addiction or any other painful instance, it is highly recommended to seek a therapist.

online therapy the new normal

Best Advice To A Friend: From Author

Personally, I never had a reliable friend either to understand the problems I was dealing with. But I understood that even if I had a reliable one, he or she would have asked me to look for therapist years back. If my previous depression erupts again in future, I am committed to ask for help by mailing at And this is what I advise you as well. Ask for help and don’t feel ashamed of it!

More Interesting Reads:

A Therapist Cannot Be Your Friend. Here’s Why!

How Often Should you Talk to Your Therapist: Therapy Guide

Is My Therapy Working? 7 Signs If Your Therapy Is Beneficial

About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.


  1. mariya jonsan
    mariya jonsan

    According to me both are different some time we need both on time to time.

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