7 Tips from Urban Balance Counseling

If there’s anything I have learned from more than 20 years of being a therapist, it’s that we all can benefit from therapy at different points in our lives.

By Joyce Marter, LCPC

If there’s anything I have learned from more than 20 years of being a therapist, it’s that we all can benefit from therapy at different points in our lives.

As part of the human condition, we each may experience issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, grief, or relationship problems. Therapy can help us resolve these issues and move forward in our lives, both personally and professionally.

Many of us have somebody in our lives who we believe might benefit from therapy. This may be a sensitive issue to broach because we don’t want them to feel criticized by the suggestion that they might benefit from counseling. The following are seven tips for effectively recommending therapy to somebody:

1) Act swiftly, don’t delay

Resist the temptation to minimize issues or just hope the problem will magically disappear.

Don’t wait until there is a full-blown crisis to recommend therapy.

Remember that saying something sooner may prevent a larger issue from arising (i.e. relationship break-up, job loss, etc).

2) Normalize, don’t shame

Express empathy for their feelings; recognizing that their feelings are a normal response to their nature and nurture.

Consider saying something along the lines of, “It’s completely understandable that you are overwhelmed with everything you have going on right now. You deserve real support.”

Share your perspective that therapy is something healthy and proactive—a routine aspect of healthcare, like going to a dentist or physician. Encourage them to consider a therapist as a personal trainer or coach for the mind, or for relationship success.

Disclose if you yourself or others you know (without violating any confidentiality, of course) have benefited from therapy. If you haven’t, express that you yourself would be open to the seeking counseling as needed.

3) Express care, not judgement

Provide love and support, not criticism.

Don’t diagnose–leave that up to the experts.

Do say, “I love you” or “I care about you” or similar expressions of support. “You just don’t seem like yourself and I want you to…

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