Whether they’re going through a crisis or they have unresolved issues or erratic behavior, you probably have some friends who would benefit from therapy. And while it’s certainly not your place to solve your friends’ problems, if someone you love needs help, suggesting they see a mental health therapist could really improve their life. But since it may offend them or cause them to get defensive, approaching the topic can be scary and difficult.
The key is to be sensitive and attentive. Listen to your friend describe their problem and do your best to normalize it. This will create an alliance with the person rather than making them feel that something is wrong with them. If you know of someone who has faced a similar issue and resolved it with therapy, bring that up and offer to get the name of the counseling center.
If you’ve ever gone to therapy yourself or considered going, be honest with your friend so they’ll understand that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If they’ve been leaning heavily on you for advice, you can also gently remind them that you’re not an expert, but you’ll be happy to help them find someone who can suggest something you haven’t thought of. The sooner you can help your friend get help, the sooner they can begin to heal.
Contact Dr. Tucker, a psychiatrist in Costa Mesa CA.