When a person you genuinely care about goes through a rough patch, it’s natural to do everything to make them feel better. And although this person is most certainly appreciative of support and help, there’s just so much you can do as a spouse, friend, or family member. At some point, your loved one may require the assistance of a professional who can offer objective guidance and unbiased insights. However, just telling someone to seek therapy isn’t an easy feat.
There exist multiple reasons why people decide to put off treatment or, in some cases, disregard the entire idea of seeking therapy. Self-reliance is profoundly ingrained in cultures, even more so when people go through hard times. Some main factors that may dissuade people from seeking professional help include the state of denial, inadequate awareness, financial hardships, or the stigma associated with mental health concerns.
However, this poses the question: how do you persuade your loved one to seek therapy without compromising the relationship or appearing to have crossed a line? It may be challenging to approach the person and convince them to seek treatment. If not done correctly, you can exacerbate the situation or make them hostile to the concept. There is, however, a productive way to approach this discussion.
Here are a few ways to broach this sensitive subject with compassion, respect, and care:
Provide meaningful help
You can urge someone to seek treatment, but unless you’re prepared to provide substantive assistance, it won’t work. Unfortunately, when seeking therapy, people often don’t know where to begin. In these situations, you can help them find a suitable treatment facility contingent on their condition and preferences.
For instance, if your loved one currently resides in Florida, a US state where nearly 8% of people abuse illicit drugs. And if your loved one has also been grappling with addiction problems. In that case, search for a reliable rehab center in Florida that provides quality services and develops personalized treatment plans.
Aside from this, you can also go a bit extra mile to extend your meaningful support. For instance, some people are apprehensive about participating in solo therapy sessions. Offer to accompany them till they feel at ease. Guarantee them that you won’t ask invasive questions until they wish to share.
Choose the right time and place
Mental health concerns often require physical and emotional care and sensitivity. Various factors greatly influence how your loved one responds to the recommendations, such as ‘when’ and ‘where’ you bring up the conversation. Given this, it’s imperative to choose a private, comfortable, and secure place to discuss the topic.
Never try to begin the conversation in the presence of large groups of people or where others can eavesdrop on the discussion, as it will only give rise to uneasiness and embarrassment. Instead, let your loved one decide whether they want other people to know about their condition or not. This way, you can make them feel respected and valued.
Besides, refrain from speaking to the person when they are upset, exhausted, working under pressure, or engaged in a crucial task. They might downplay the subject’s significance or entirely ignore you in such circumstances. Instead, try to approach the person when they are in a good mood. Keep the discussion as informal, friendly, and private as you can.
Normalize the concept of therapy
Too often, when a person suffers from illness or injuries that hamper their normal functioning, they invest efforts to take care of their body. But when it comes to mental health conditions, the barriers are internal; thus, they don’t exert the same effort to address and overcome the obstacles.
Over and above, the misconceptions and fears about mental health conditions have magnified stigma. While the loved one might be aware of their need for assistance, they may be reluctant to seek treatment if they fear you will reject them or behave differently towards them. Therefore, let them know that therapy is an excellent, judgment-free space where anybody may talk about life’s issues.
Also, try to avoid stigmatizing language when discussing this delicate topic. Refrain from speaking from a position of rage or condemnation. Saying that the person has made your life challenging or that they need to work on their problems are some examples of an angry viewpoint.
Get ready for resistance
No matter how much you pour efforts into motivating your loved one to seek therapy, don’t forget to remain prepared for resistance. In simpler terms, just because you feel your loved one needs treatment doesn’t necessarily mean they will feel the same way.
In most cases, the sufferer is usually in a state of denial when friends or family members start such a discussion. As a result, there’s an increased possibility that your loved one may get defensive, furious, violent, or even shut you down completely.
Thus, when you see reluctance on the loved one’s end, try to understand their perspective instead of pressuring them to get the treatment. There exist various reasons why your loved one might choose not to see a therapist. For instance, they feel uncomfortable, find therapy expensive, fear getting judged, or maybe visited previously, but treatment has not helped them. Understanding their resistance can help you develop effective strategies and suggestions.
Know your boundaries
While you may want to help your loved one in every way possible, there comes the point where you’ll need to take a step back. Even if you have the best interests at heart, you can’t control other people’s actions. Counterintuitively, trying to force someone to seek therapy when they are unwilling, more often than not, makes situations much worse.
It’s relevant to note that despite your effort and support, eventually, the decision whether to go to therapy or not rests with the individual. Although your loved one may be against therapy at the moment, it doesn’t necessarily imply they will remain against it forever. Often, challenging times or periods of transition change a person’s perspectives, and they could decide to give a whirl to therapy. Of course, it isn’t a given; it may happen.
All you can do is be always there for them and provide resources to help them during this journey. If they aren’t ready to talk yet, you can persuade them some other day; after all, your loved one probably doesn’t want you breathing down their neck.
Unquestionably, seeking professional help is one of the best steps to contend with mental health conditions. The professional treatments offer insight into self-acceptance and self-understanding and help strengthen relationships.
The process of convincing someone to get help, nevertheless, calls for a great deal of effort, strength, and perseverance. So, try to share your personal experiences, frame your concerns with compassion and care, be specific, establish healthy boundaries, and model behaviors you want them to adopt. Most importantly, assure them you will continue to stretch your support throughout the process to help them lead the life they’ve always desired. This way, you can nudge them in the right direction.
However, remember not to coerce your loved one to seek treatment. Although it may be disheartening to see your loved one go through needless hardship, know that therapy is only effective when the patient is driven to change.