I love helping people in my office. Usually the biggest thing I do for them is listen well. Yes, that's something their friends could do, but the patience, focus and strategic, calculated responses I'm able to give are all things it took me a lot of years and a lot of money to master. I guarantee a good counselor is worth the money you pay them.
But as much as I'm helpful for my clients, there are a few things I can't do for them. One of the biggest is provide a broader community. Humans take so much more than momentary (or hourly) support. They need quite of few people to connect with in order to feel safe. They need family who sees them regularly, friends to have fun with, and helpers who recognize their needs and meet them.
When my clients have more unique struggles, like chronic illness, foster-parenting woes, infertility issues, etc. I know to refer them as soon as I can to support groups who have those same difficulties, because as much as I can listen I really can't know what it's like (unless their issues are my personal struggles as well). Support groups make a world of difference for someone who feels isolated and alone. To surviving anything hard we need to know there are others who are fighting to survive the same things.
If you have a particular issue that your friends and family "just don't get," it's time to reach out a bit further. Call out to the broader world (something the internet is actually good at) to find the people who do get it. You're not as alone as you think.
Photo: My dahlia that finally started blooming.