Most people would spend money to fix a broken marriage through a few sessions with a counsellor but it’s more unusual to spend that money on fixing a toxic friendship.
Yet, friendship counselling is the latest relationship trend to hit the US. Thousands of registered psychologists and therapists offer counselling sessions to friends to end unnecessary feuds and fix toxic friendships. One hour-long session can cost between $75 (R644) and $200 (R1717).
The phrase toxic friend is even recognized by the American Psychological Association.
One such individual who says she needed friendship counselling is church minister Kim Feighner.
Feighner (37) says she was “desperate” to get her friendship back on track with her bestfriend of six years, US school teacher Christy Stewart (32), after things between the pair who were usually “joined at the hip” became strained.
To her, the logical solution was friendship counselling. “I'd heard about a good counsellor, who my friends had been to for marriage problems.”
But trying to set things right wasn’t without its troubles. According to Stewart, part of the counselling meant admitting to flaws in their own individual personalities.
“We faced a lot of demons about our own personalities - my domineering nature, her neediness,” Stewart explained.
After nearly 30 sessions at $150 (R1288) per hour, their friendship is back to a healthy level and the two feel “closer than ever”.
Feighner believes the $3000 spent was well worth it.
“Christy and I usually see each other once a week now and can talk about almost anything again. It might seem drastic paying more than $3000 to fix a friendship - but I'd do it all again.”