Step 1: You Can’t.
Therapy is a personal choice made by an individual who is tired of life as it is and is ready to make a change. The decision to enter therapy is a complicated one. For some people it feels like giving up, like admitting they can’t handle their life on their own. It feels like an admission that they are weak, or broken.
Now you and I know that isn’t true, sure. But when you’re hurting and feel really alone and your own friends and family try and send you to a therapist your loved one just hears “I can’t handle you. You are too messed up.”
Sometimes a person even feels TOO messed up for therapy to work. They think, what the hell is talking to someone about all my problems going to do to solve the problems? They might feel a little hopeless about themselves. Changing your mind about these things doesn’t come from outside, it comes from within.
Step 2: Talk to a Therapist Yourself.
Sometimes we get overwhelmed dealing with people who are hurting. It can impact us so much especially if we share space with them, or if they isolate from us. It would help you through a rough time to seek out some counseling for yourself and work on expressing that frustration and setting boundaries that help restore and nurture you. (warning: don’t go to therapy just to tell them you went to therapy, go for you.)
Step 3: Don’t lose hope.
They say that a person will only change when they finally see that the pain of the change is less than the pain of the problems as they are. Sometimes they refuse help because they think the work ahead of them is impossible and will hurt way more than the pain they have already grown familiar with. Sometimes we have to let people hurt until they decide they are done hurting and are ready to start to do the work to free themselves. It hurts so much to watch people we love suffer, but we can’t do the work for them. We can only gently remind them that help exists and give them the numbers and addresses to local mental health options.
Hopefully, this wasn’t too disappointing for you to read. I wrote this because it is a painful truth I have to say to someone nearly everyday. Genuinely, there is nothing I have come across that really works to get our loved ones to accept the help they so deeply need. Until such a tactic is revealed, we commiserate with one another as at some point we will all have someone in our lives we want to help feel better.
If you need someone to talk to either because someone in your life is hurting, or if you are the person hurting and need someone to talk to, feel free to sign up today.