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Have you been going to therapy for a while now and seeing the positive returns it gives you?
And now, you wish your friends, partner or family members participated in their therapy sessions. You can be a helpful hand in guiding them to their realization that therapy can also benefit them, and I will share with you eight top tips on how to convince someone to go to therapy.
But before you start, please remember that facing your inner thoughts and fears is scary, so don’t push them. Be there for them and let them find their path, as you did.
How To Convince Someone To Go To Therapy
1. Prepare ahead of time
Before speaking to the person, give yourself a few days to review what you want to say. Go over how you can bring up this important topic without making them feel like they are being shamed or pushed into a corner.
If they are going through a hard time mentally, they might have their guard up consistently due to the stress and anxiety in their life. Due to this, they might take whatever you say with a negative outlook.
I suggest talking to your therapist about what you want to do to help your friend. You and your therapist can work together on a strategic plan to help you feel more comfortable doing what you are about to do. Plus, your therapist will have a lot of experience and valuable insight.
2. Choose the right time
Choosing the right time to discuss your thoughts about therapy with them could be as important as the entire conversation itself. This is not a conversation you want as a last-minute parting word with a tight time limit. Nor should this occur in an area that friends or strangers can overhear.
Here are a few tips that can help you in choosing the right time:
- Find a place that allows free movement and the ability to walk away easily if your friend needs to
- Choose an outdoor/nature setting if possible
- Find a time when they are not burnt out from work or other stress they may have in life
The best time to have this conversation is if they come to you asking for your advice or insight. This is far better than you pushing the topic onto them.
3. Express your concern
Once you have found the proper time to have your conversation, start by letting them know you have noticed things seem to be off or hard for them. At this stage, try not to push your thoughts on why they may be struggling with their mental health. Instead, let them know you are there for them if anything you have said is true.
Remember, this is about them and how they are feeling. You can guess all you want, but to help them best, it is better to hold back and let them open up to you when they feel comfortable.
4. Speak with personal action
Your desired outcome for this conversation is to get your friend to seek help from a therapist.
My question to you is, do you see a therapist yourself?
Most of us find it very hard to be told to do something when the person speaking has never done it themselves.
So, before you even think about going to your friend, partner, or family member with ideas of therapy, you should book your own 4-10 therapy appointments prior.
Lead by example.
5. Normalize therapy
Now, normalizing therapy is not the easiest thing to do. Us mental health advocates and professional therapists have been trying to do this for years not much to prevail. But that does not mean we will give up, nor should you.
The simplest way to normalize therapy for your friend, lover, or family member is to share with them that you have been seeing a therapist.
Also, you can share the volumes of articles we have on helping someone like them get more confident in their new therapy journey.
6. Offer to help with the logistics
Any inconvenience going to therapy for someone new can and will quickly be used as a reason they can’t see a therapist. If they are not willing to choose any of the online therapy apps or find a therapist that does online zoom sessions, the hurdle of getting to and from in-person therapy sessions might occur.
Offer to drive them if they are emotionally too afraid to go alone, or lend them your car if they need transportation, and no other way of making the sessions is possible.
Sometimes it is as simple as dropping them off the first time as a loving friend to be there with them in this growth journey.
7. Be patient and non-judgmental
Be calm, kind, patient, and open to them, shutting your talk down anytime.
The word “therapy” can mean many things to them; most likely, few are optimistic. So it may take time and some more life changes before they get behind the idea of opening up to a therapist.
And that is ok.
It is all part of their journey.
8. Know when to stop
If at any time during your talk, the mood changes from open to negative, or they indicate that they do not want to go to therapy or have this conversation, stop.
End that part of the conversation and tell them again that you are here for them anytime if they want to reach out.
Perhaps ‘convincing’ anyone to go to therapy is the wrong word choice for your goal.
You want someone close to you to get better, healthier, and happier with the helpful aid of a professional. And that is truly amazing, and you are remarkable for being there for them in such a way.
From what we learned is that people are best led by example. Seeing a friend change and grow is one of the most proactive ways to show those around you that therapy is a valuable investment.
Work on you; the rest will follow.
Do not force them; show them the value of going to therapy by going on your own first. Lead by action.
Lead by example and start going to therapy yourself before you suggest to them they should go to therapy.
You help someone who doesn’t want to be helped by being patient and compassionate. Do not force them to do anything you are not doing yourself.