How to Tell a Friend to Get Help

We all have friends and family that are struggling and could benefit from therapy. I often hear people say “He/she really needs some help." It can be quite obvious when someone needs additional support, but how can you possibly suggest that someone see a psychologist or therapist of some sort?

Recommending professional help is a delicate issue. You certainly risk being met with anger and resentment. However doing nothing can be even more harmful than having to encounter some resistance. When someone you know is showing obvious signs of being in distress, you can assume that they have been struggling for quite some time and might actually be desperate for some help and change.

Here are a few pointers that might make your conversation easier:

- Listen to their story and how they are doing

- Ask some questions and look for signs of hope for change

- Ask the person what they have tried to get better

- Offer some personal experiences with therapy (if you are willing to disclose)

- Ask what kind of change the person is hoping for in life

- Recommend therapy as a tool to find support, healing, and growth

It is scary and it might feel inappropriate to suggest to someone that they get professional help. You'd be surprised by how cared for and understood some people feel by such a suggestion. People don't want to feel miserable and struggle, and they often don't know how to create positive change. With a gentle nudge in the right direction you can have a big impact on someone's direction in life and you might even be able to save a life!

2/23/2015 8:00:00 AM
Dr. Katja Pohl Psychotherapy
Health and Trauma Psychologist in Santa Monica, PSY25919
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