Making Friends with Your Clients

Counseling is an unusual kind of relationship. Though it shouldn’t be, it’s rare for people to develop relationships that are dedicated to their healing, their growth, and their liberation. Such change-promoting relationships have their own kind of ecology, different from that of typical friendships.

How do friendships and counseling relationships combine? Can friends counsel one another? Can counselors make friends with their clients? Should they? Here are some reasons why people have been told that counselors shouldn’t become friends with their clients, and some even better reasons why they should.

As always, send your questions to, and I can answer them in future blog posts.

About the Author

Steve Bearman, Ph.D., earned his doctorate in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He founded Interchange Counseling Institute in 2002 and is the lead teacher of Interchange's San Francisco-based year-long counseling and coaching training. When he's not counseling people, leading workshops, and advocating for social justice, Steve climbs mountains, adventures in the urban wilderness, explores the edges and limits of what's possible, deconstructs everything, and finds new ways to put it all back together.