There are times in all of our lives when someone close to us suffers emotionally. It could be as a result of depression from the loss of someone close to them, or from a period of long-term unemployment, poor adjustment to divorce or separation or it may even stem from distant events, such as physical or emotional abuse they endured as a child. As much as we may try, as a close friend or family member, we are not usually in the best position to provide what is needed for helping them to deal with these emotions properly.
It isn’t the easiest thing to convince a loved one you think that they should seek therapy, or get professional help. Often, the events and conversations leading up to this suggestion are emotional enough, and it can become difficult to discuss the topic without feeling awkward.
If you are thinking about seeking treatment for a loved one, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
Remember to take care of yourself.
You are part of their support structure. It is important that you keep this in mind as you allow someone else to undertake the role of counselor. Becoming too emotionally involved can sometimes have a negative impact on the process of their healing, and can also damage relationships. For that reason, it may be best to allow some space between yourself and your loved one during the therapy process. It is important to be supportive, and to encourage them while letting a counselor or therapist take on the heavier aspects of their emotional challenges.
Talk with your loved one about the changes you have noticed and ask if they have noticed changes in their mood, behavior, etc.
Self-realization can be of great assistance in trying to urge counsel. When people begin to understand what has been impacted as a result of the distress they are in, it can help to motivate their decision to seek the support they need. It also lets them know that you care enough about them to have noticed the recent changes. Feeling like you’re alone can make things much more difficult, and discussing these things with them shows them that you are invested in them enough to have seen and become concerned with the changes.
Seeing positive changes during the therapy process also mean it’s working. Just keep in mind, that just because positive changes have occurred, it doesn’t mean they should quit therapy. The clinician will know when your loved one is ready to be “terminated” from services, so don’t rush the process.
Offer to assist in locating a counselor. Offer to give them a ride if necessary.
Taking this position after the topic has initially been breached serves to support your loved one. It allows them to see that you care about what they need, and that you are willing to help them in any way possible. If they have children, perhaps you can offer to watch them while they attend so that they don’t feel pressured by outside circumstances not to seek counseling.
Remind your loved one that change takes time.
This is an important one! Patience isn’t always in great supply at a time like this. Encourage them to realize that they didn’t get to the point where they are overnight – and it may take some time to get back to where they need to be. Assuring them you will be with them as they endure their struggle to heal is also helpful.
Encourage your loved one to continue routine activities (eating healthy, exercising, bathing, etc.)
Helping someone whom you suspect may need counseling to maintain a sense of routine can be one of the best things that you can do to help. It shows them that there are still reasons why they wake up every day – whether to work or to raise a family – it can help to show them that they have purpose and that they are needed.
Remind your loved one that you love him/her.
This may be one of the most crucial elements of all. We all know it’s easier to get through a time of trial when we are insulated by the people close to us. When you continually show your loved one that you love and believe in them, it allows them to draw strength in their time of struggle that they may not have had otherwise.
If you have any questions about counseling, feel free to give us a call to discuss options for your loved one in a confidential conversation with one of our clinicians: 561-429-2140
We are conveniently located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida