5 Tips For Encouraging Your Friend To Go To Therapy

When a friend is struggling with mental health, you want to do everything you can to help. But many people require a professional to help them manage. So, you might shift your focus to persuade your friend to go to therapy. While some friends will readily agree and welcome the opportunity, others might show some resistance. 

This guide will provide some tips for thoughtfully encouraging your friend to see a mental health counselor. While you can’t force someone to make an appointment, you can gently show compassion as they decide on their own. 

1.Start from a place of support

Whenever a friend is struggling, you should show your support right from the beginning. Many people living with mental illness fear that their loved ones will see them differently. You can comfort your friend by showing that you aren’t going anywhere. Phrases such as, “I see that you’re going through a tough time, and I am here for you,” can be meaningful for your friend. As your friend builds trust with you, they might be more open to a conversation about seeking professional help. 

2. Frame your concern

Timing and framing are everything when talking to a loved one about mental illness. Wait for a time when you’re alone together in a place where your friend feels comfortable. You can then carefully bring up your concern. Start the conversation by telling your friend that you love them or by listing some qualities you like in them. You can then say that you’ve noticed that they haven’t been themselves lately or that they aren’t enjoying life in the same way. Stay empathetic so that your friend might be willing to talk about getting help.

3. Ask how you can help with the process

People can get defensive when they feel a lack of autonomy. Your friend may not want you to fix all of their issues for them, so ask how you can help. They may want you to help them research therapists using services such as withtherapy.com or simply drive them to their appointments. Your friend may just want to set up regular coffee dates to talk about the therapy sessions or activities to distract them. Be open to what they want your role to be. 

4. Remember that you can’t force them

No matter how much you care about your friend and insist they need help, you can’t force anyone to go to therapy. Some people will go through phases of resistance before they accept that they need help, and you need to let your friend process at their own pace. As long as they aren’t at risk of harming themselves or others, you should let them go through this process. If your friend is refusing to seek help, remind them that you are there to help in any way they need and take a step back. 

5. Take care of yourself

As you support your friend and encourage them to seek help, it’s easy to neglect your own self-care. However, this will only lead to drained resources. Remember that it’s OK to set boundaries and set time aside to take care of yourself. This could mean going to your own therapy appointments or spending a day alone to recharge. You can be a more caring and empathetic friend when your own needs are fulfilled. 

Seeing a therapist is a key part in managing a mental illness. You’re showing true compassion to your friend by urging them to take this step. By gently encouraging your friend, asking how you can help, and setting clear boundaries, you can show your support and continue caring for yourself.

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