How to convince a loved one to go to therapy: 8 tips
Man among people
One who puts off a visit to a psychologist, even if he urgently needs help, is easy to understand. Firstly, therapy is not cheap and is almost never covered by insurance. Secondly, finding a specialist can be difficult, especially in a small town. Finally, it’s hard for many to even imagine what it feels like to open up to a complete stranger.
On the other hand, we can understand that a loved one needs qualified help, and the sooner the better. How to push him to her? This should be done as delicately as possible. Here’s what professionals recommend.
Choose the right time and place to talk
“The topic itself is pretty personal, if not sensitive,” explains psychologist Brandy Lewis. “So it’s hardly worth raising it, say, at a family dinner.” “You don’t want to embarrass your loved one or put him in an awkward position?”
He advises to discuss this issue in private, ideally – when the conversation about this will go by itself. Then you can express concern and your proposal will sound appropriate.
But talking about this in the midst of a dispute is definitely not worth it, the psychotherapist Judy Sineas is sure. “When you are both on emotions, the interlocutor can hardly take your words correctly. They will sound to him not as a manifestation of concern, but as instructions from a position from above: they say that something is wrong with you, and they will quickly explain to you now what to do. ”
Share your positive experiences.
If your loved one has never been in a psychotherapist’s office before, the very idea of having to sit in front of a stranger and tell him your whole life with all the secrets and problems can seriously scare him. If you share your positive experiences, this will help him relax a bit.
“Try to remember what you yourself were worried about before the first session, and tell us how you dealt with all this,” advises psychologist-consultant Matt Smith.
If you yourself have never been to a psychotherapist and do not know anyone who would have a positive experience, the Internet will help you. Clinical psychologist Shelley Sommerfeldt advises looking for stories of people whom therapy has helped to share on occasion. This will allow the close one to understand that he is not alone in need of help and that there is nothing to be ashamed of asking for her.
“Right now, it may seem to your relative that he will never feel better. Retelling the stories of people whose lives have been improved thanks to therapy, you will help him understand that there is still hope and that going to a therapist is just as much a routine as visiting, say, a dentist. ”
Explain why you think he needs therapy
When someone is told that he “needs” to seek psychological help, it can sound rather annoying, says clinical psychologist Christina Iglesia, who launched the hashtag campaign(“Therapy is cool”). So it’s important to talk about why you offer it. “For example, you can say:“ I see how difficult it is for you now, and I’m sure that it will be easier for you to cope with the support of a therapist. ” This will help a loved one understand that you are really worried about him. ”
Choose your words carefully
Clinical psychologist Karla Maria Mantley is sure that you need to carefully monitor what and how you say. You can, for example, put it this way: “I love you very much, and it pains me to see how you deal with stress (depression, anxiety, etc.). They told me about a therapist who specializes in this topic. Do you want to try to get his contacts? ”
Or: “I am your friend (parent, sister, etc.) and I will always and everywhere support you. Thank you for sharing with me what is happening to you. You know, it seems to me that a therapist could help you. I will always listen and support you, but I’m not a professional. Let me find out from acquaintances if they have a good specialist? ”
Or: “It seems that every day it’s getting harder and harder for you. I found a support group – they meet on Mondays. Maybe we’ll go together? ”
Try to destigmatize this topic.
The topic of mental health is surrounded by many myths, the neuropsychologist Katherine Jackson is sure. When you offer therapy, try not to aggravate the situation. It is worth talking about mental health in the same way as about physical health.
“Having broken a leg, we do not wait passively until everything heals by itself. No, we go to the doctor and entrust him with the treatment process. It’s the same with mental problems, she recalls. “You should not sit back and wait for things to work out.”
Remember that therapy is only effective if the client makes an effort
“In order to make it easier for a person, he must want this and understand why he came to the reception,” says psychologist Mark Borg. – I often tell clients: therapy will end when you no longer have any reason to come to me. For the “miracle of therapy” to happen, a person must behave actively. ”
How to achieve this? Borg advises to talk with loved ones about what is happening in his life, and try to find the roots of the current problems together. Perhaps this is how he realizes that he cannot move on without the help of a therapist.
Suggest finding a suitable specialist
“It is very important that your relative or partner is comfortable working with a psychotherapist – there will be less reason to drop everything,” explains psychologist-consultant Christie Jenkins. She advises to make a list of possible therapists, as well as share with close links to resources where you can find a specialist.
Find out how your friend or relative imagines the ideal therapist. Is it a man or a woman? What is he (a) age? Is it important that this is a general practitioner or professional who specializes in certain conditions?
Get ready for resistance
Family and marriage specialist Sheila Tucker advises tuning in advance to the fact that the loved one will resist, not be offended by this and prepare to actively listen. “Do not discount the feelings of a loved one – he or she has every right to them. Give them time to get used to the idea of therapy. ”
And, of course, it is worth considering in advance the financial side of the issue. If a loved one is currently experiencing financial difficulties, you should initially look for free specialists or those whose services are as cheap as possible (including considering the possibility of online consultations).
Finally, she recalls that even if you are sure that the therapy will help your friend or relative, he simply may not be ready for it – at least for now. And this fact must be tried to understand and accept.
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