5 things to remember when you tell your loved ones they need therapy
It can be very difficult to watch someone you love and care about struggle with their mental health; it’s even worse when you’re sure that they would absolutely benefit from getting professional therapy.
Encouraging someone to see a therapist can be a very sensitive situation, and if you approach it the wrong way, you might turn the person against therapy for a very long time.
Here are the points we get into more detail in, in this article:
- Show your support & validate them
- Choose the right time & place
- Clarify why you’re suggesting therapy
- Destigmatize getting help
- Offer practical help
- Remember to prioritize yourself
Tread carefully and consider the following points:
1. Show your support & validate them
Misunderstanding therapy and mental healthcare have intensified the stigma around seeking help in our Arab society (and the world!), so it’s really understandable if your loved one might be afraid of the judgment they might receive from people around them if anyone finds out they’re seeking therapy.
So when you start talking about therapy with them, you should use non-judgmental language that validates their thoughts and feelings. Confirm to them that what they’re struggling with is valid, that they’re not alone, and that you will always be there to support them through their journey.
2. Choose the right time & place
When you suggest therapy to someone, you need to make sure you choose the right time and place for that conversation, because that can determine how they react and their relationship with you moving forward.
Avoid starting the conversation in front of others or after an argument. Approach your loved ones when they’re in a good mood and do it with empathy and compassion. Make sure they know your suggestion comes out of love because you love them and care about their wellbeing and happiness.
3. Clarify why you’re suggesting therapy
Their natural reaction might be to be defensive or offended when you suggest they need therapy. So make your motivation known, and be clear that you’re suggesting therapy because you care.
Use phrases like “I see you struggling” or “I care about you, and I’m concerned about your wellbeing.”
This will ensure them that your suggestion comes from a place of love and support, rather than shame and judgment.
4. Destigmatize getting help
Sharing your personal experience with therapy can help validate their fear or reservation. Explain how you felt before your session, how relieved you felt after, and how much it helped you. This can encourage them to go for it and reduce any embarrassment about seeking therapy.
You can say things like: “it was scary at first, but it’s so worth it,” or “I felt so much better after,” and “you can talk about anything and everything; it’s a judgment-free and safe space.”
5. Offer practical support
Your loved one might know they need to seek professional help and therapy, but they’re too afraid to take the first step for so many reasons.
So, offer to book them their first session or go with them to the first appointment and wait outside.
Suggesting online therapy can make it even easier for them to take that step. Since they can have the session at the comfort of their own home or anywhere! Remind them that it’s always confidential, secure, and a safe and nonjudgement space.
A platform like Ayadi with a roster of qualified therapists and psychologists that speak both English and Arabic can help them find the best therapist for whatever challenge they’re experiencing and struggling with. Help them browse our therapists’ specializations and treatment methods, or encourage them to talk to one of our client care agents to match them with a therapist for their needs.
Remember to prioritize yourself
Always be prepared that your loved one might not be open to the idea of getting therapy, and they might resist your suggestion. Therefore, you should never forget to prioritize your mental health and wellbeing and understand that you can only do so much to help someone you love.
Remember, you can’t force someone to seek help; all you can do is be there for them and encourage them.