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"How Can I Convince Someone to Go to Therapy?"

Do you have compassion for a loved one and want them to get help?

Are you concerned about a friend's unusual behavior and think they should talk to someone?

Perhaps you might be you watching a train wreck happen right before your eyes and wish you could do something to intervene.

Convincing someone to go to therapy is not an easy task, nor would I even recommend it. Plainly, it is unsolicited advice. Most people don't want to be told what to do and would rather make decisions based on their own free will.

But that doesn't mean a nudge here and there wouldn't hurt. I've had both patients and friends alike ask me, "How can I get my 'so and so' to go to therapy? They/She/He totally needs it." Instead of plotting a strategy to get someone to take care of their mental health, I would first ask questions to see how aware one is of their mental health status.

So, ask questions to see if they are even aware of what they are going through. Some folks are depressed but think that, "this is just how life is". Other folks can be narcissistic, unaware, or uncaring, and wonder, "Why is life so hard, why don't people like me?" There are many situations and problems that can be brought forth in life. There are many people that have a lack of awareness of the severity of their problems. Life doesn't need to be the way that it is, things will change, and you can change.

What could you possibly say to someone you're trying to convince to go to therapy? Maybe something along the lines of these two examples, responding to the statements in the above paragraph:

"I've noticed that you've been more withdrawn and irritable lately. How are you coping?"

"I wonder if there's a way to really figure this out. It sounds like this has been a problem for a while. What do you think?"

From there, you might get an idea of how aware they are of what is truly going on. And then, I would introduce an analogy they might relate to. One example I use is the leaky roof of a home.

"What if this problem is like a leaky roof. Putting a bucket on the ground could help, but your roof will continue to leak. And if you wait too long to fix the roof, the leak could get worse, and maybe you'll need more buckets. And if you do nothing for even longer, the leak could turn into a hole and buckets aren't going to help you at all, you'll need major repair work done and it could be more costly and time consuming to repair.

I care about you and want you to be the best version of yourself. I wonder, how long are you going to wait to repair the roof?"

Your mind, your body, and your very soul deserve the care and attention for whole person wellness. Express support and care for your loved ones and friends, be compassionate about what they are experiencing, and give them the space to figure it out with your support.

As I've told some patients, I am not here to lead you in your journey, I will not be walking ahead of you. Instead, I will walk alongside you. And in those times where you need my help, I will support you and help you along the way.

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