It takes an act of courage for most people to consider getting psychotherapy, especially when they see portrayals of it on television or in movies. Sometimes it seems mysterious and confusing. People often have concerns:
How will therapy help me?
Will I have to commit to a long course of expensive treatment?
Should I take medication instead?
Will my therapist judge me or try to control me?
Will I have to talk about childhood issues?
Will I have to expose my vulnerabilities?
Your family member or friend needing therapy may predict that therapy will lead to their feeling worse, not better. If so, it's no wonder you've been met with resistance when you bring it up. But here are some things you might ask them to consider:
- The effectiveness of some kinds of therapy have been measured in hundreds, if not thousands, of research studies. There are major differences between traditional psychotherapy, with little evidence of efficacy, and new psychotherapies that have been developed over the past fifty years. Traditional psychotherapy puts a heavy emphasis on childhood experiences and aims to help clients gain insight. Evidence-based treatments, on the other hand, deal with the problems clients have today and aim to help clients reduce their symptoms and stay better. Clients' mood and behavior are usually assessed at every session to make sure they are making progress.
Finally, you may be able to engage your family member in a discussion by asking, "What's the worst that could happen if you give therapy a try?" Offering to set up the appointment for them or going with them to the first session may make the difference between their getting help or not. And when they do go, praise them for their courage.
See Beck Institute's frequently asked questions about going to therapy here.