Harriette Cole: My childhood friend wants me to go into therapy with him. Is that strange?

DEAR HARRIETTE: A childhood friend suggested seeking platonic relationship counseling for our 15-year friendship that’s facing challenges due to differing opinions and life phases.

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We were very close when we were growing up, and as life has happened, we seem to be drifting apart.

I would love to stay friends with him, but I’m unsure if this is too extreme for a nonromantic relationship. How can I assess whether therapy is appropriate and beneficial for our situation?

— Friend Counseling

DEAR FRIEND COUNSELING: I absolutely love this idea.

Why does therapy have to be for couples or families only? In many instances, the people we are closest to are friends, and, over time, many friendships face roadblocks.

The fact that your friend values your relationship enough to admit that things are uncomfortable now and you could use help figuring your way through it is outstanding.

Do some research to find a therapist who has experience in counseling platonic friends. Then go to this therapist with an open heart and willingness to go through the process.

What commonly happens in therapy is that people begin to discuss things about themselves from their past that impact them today. What you discover will likely be useful for this friendship — and beyond.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m 19 years old, and I still live at home with my mom. Being the youngest in my family, my close relationship with my mom has led to resentment from my older siblings, who are 23 and 27.

Now that I’m the only one at home, the strain has increased. They accuse me of monopolizing her time or getting her to take my side on things.

I think that’s ridiculous. Of course I talk to her more; we live in the same house.

How can I maintain a strong connection with my mom while addressing the growing tension with my siblings? I value all of these relationships and want to find a balance.

— Jealousy

DEAR JEALOUSY: Live your life. The bond you and your mother have is precious and should be treated as such.

You are at home. Be fully present. Continue to talk to your mom and support her as she supports you. Soak up all the knowledge you can while you are living with her. What you can do less of is talk about these moments with your siblings. Your relationship with your mom is uniquely yours.

Your siblings are young adults now. At their ages, they are building their own independent lives, even as they are still clinging to your mom. Their dynamics are naturally changing. Sadly, you are caught in the middle.

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Harriette Cole: I never thought I’d be putting my teen in this position

Do your best to stay out of their drama. Encourage them to spend time with your mom and to call her on a regular basis to check in.

You can also suggest times when the three of you can hang out. Ask them to include you in some of their social activities so that you get out of the house and enjoy each other’s company as siblings.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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