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?
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 sign 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, heal, and grow.
It is scary and might feel inappropriate to suggest to someone to get help. You’ll be surprised by how cared for and understood someone might feel by such a suggestion. People don’t want to feel miserable and often don’t know how to create positive change. With a gentle nudge in the right direction you can have a big impact one someone’s direction in life and you might even be able to save a life!