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If I could just get them to talk to a therapist, we tell ourselves. If they would just listen to me and go to treatment, we ponder. If only we could convince them that we are right, that they have a problem, and that they need professional clinical help to work through it. If only we were able to completely override another human being’s autonomous willpower than we might be able to convince someone to go to therapy or treatment. We can spend a lifetime presenting the best arguments, setting up traps, manipulating information, getting dramatic, acting hysterical, setting harsh boundaries, breaking our boundaries, and more in an effort to coerce our loved one into therapy. Unfortunately, whether we do it the right way or the wrong way, there simply is no convincing someone to do much of anything, especially if they aren’t willing and able to do it. You can, however, approach the conversation in the best way possible with the hopes that you might break through to your loved one. Maintain a realistic expectation, however. Your loved one has to make the decision for themselves.

Tell them what they’ve told you

There are two reasons you are under the belief that your loved one needs therapy. First, you have witnessed behavioral changes in them that you find concerning. Second, they have realized changes in themselves they find concerning and they have come to you with those concerns. If their immediate response is defensiveness that they don’t need any help and everything is fine, gently remind them of their own observations before putting your arguments first.

Remove the shame and stigma

Some of the most brilliant minds in the world work with a therapist regularly. Everyone has some kind of story to tell about their lives, the things they have been through, and the struggle they have found in trying to cope. Regularly, idolized celebrities speak about their mental health struggles and how working with a therapist has helped them. There is nothing wrong with mental health struggles or working toward better mental health.

Relate your own experiences

Save your own experiences for last. This isn’t about you or your well-intentioned agenda to get your loved one into therapy. If you have gone to therapy yourself and found that it was beneficial, be humbly honest and open about your experiences. Relate to your loved one some of the struggles you were going through, what made you decide to seek therapy and you have ultimately benefitted from that decision.

The Guest House Ocala is a private residential treatment program offering recovery from traumas, addictions and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our long term treatment programs and concierge style clinical planning: