Real Talk Advice: Getting Your Friend to See a Therapist

Dear Psyched,

My friend *really* needs to be in therapy. How can I suggest it without pissing her off?

- Running Out of Kleenex

 

Dear Awesome Friend Who Isn't Running a Kleenex Factory, 

You’re smart to tread lightly. Even though seeing a good therapist can be a totally transformative experience, there is still (even in 2016!) a little stigma about seeing a mental health pro.

Therapists help people work through their feelings and make positive changes in their lives. Since good friends often do that very same thing— but over mimosas and without a co-pay— suggesting that your friend talk to someone else about her problems can make them feel like you are just tired of listening. But unlike you, therapists are trained to understand what those underlying issues really are and have the know-how to help their patients actually change their negative thought patterns or work through their pain.

So how do we get your friend to experience this magic?

Timing is everything. Don’t bring it up at the end of her next monologue about said issue. You want to avoid giving the impression that you are outsourcing your “good listener” skills. Instead, bring it up during another conversation. Depending on how close you are, you can say flat out, “I’ve been thinking that a therapist might give you good advice about how to deal with your ex/mom/boss/etc.” If you don’t want take on the problem directly, you can always mention that you heard about a new cool new website, such as TalkSpace or Better Help, that is reinventing old school therapy.

Keep your tone in check. There is nothing wrong with your friend, so don’t drop a hint about getting professional help the way you’d say, “Eww. You need to get that mole checked out!”

Good luck— and kudos to you for helping your friend get the help she needs. 

XO, Psyched 

Need some real talk? E-mail me at Awomble@Gmail.com and I’ll give it to you straight.