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How to Help a Loved One Seek Therapy

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

A Few Quick Tips to Help a Loved One Get Help or Seek Therapy

Dr. Shalonda K. Crawford, Psy.D.

As we manage the hustle and bustle of everyday life, on many levels we are aware of the impact and impressions of characteristics like independence, security and strength of mind that are deeply imposed in our society and mainstream culture. Nevertheless, there are times when life’s circumstances may weigh heavy and cause us to feel the counter opposite. Though people may feel weak, judged or vulnerable during tough times, it is not uncommon that help through a rough patch may be necessary. No matter the issue: anxiety, depression, grief or loss, below are a few helpful tips to assist and encourage your loved one to seek help/therapy in times of distress.

· Timing Is Everything– Make a conscious effort to select a good time and place to express your concerns. Avoid presenting your observations and suggestions during times when your loved is most likely to respond defensively, i.e. during an argument, family gathering or public place.

· Prepare Yourself– As much as possible, be prepared for a wide-range of emotions and responses to your request. Keep in mind that the last thing you want to be is defensive.

· Help Move Along The Process– If things go your way, your loved one is open and willing to seek therapy to address the concern. Be prepared with possible options for counselors/therapists that are available. The more the merrier. Your friend or family’s input and choice in the matter may be invaluable.

· Support In Action– It’s one thing to point out and discuss your observations and concerns. It’s another to step up in full support. If at all possible, make yourself available to take them to the appointment or pay if necessary. This also eliminates typical excuses for not being able to afford it or adequate means to get there.

· Drastic Means for Drastic Measures– If you believe that your friend or loved one is in a more serious or harmful mental condition, be prepared to take equivalent measures. It may be necessary to call authorities or head to the ER for an immediate check-up or professional evaluation.

At the end of the day, motivating a friend or family member to seek help that is critically necessary but may also be resisted can be a difficult role. As part of the supportive structure, it is imperative that you keep in mind the importance of your own self-care. Don’t try to do or be too much. Encourage your loved one to seek and participate in professional treatment without trying to take on the role of a trained counselor or therapist yourself.


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