Patient With Therapist

How do you tell someone they should talk to a psychotherapist?

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3 Steps to persuading someone to see a psychotherapist: 


Gain someone’s trust by being genuinely interested in the problem they have. Be an active listener by asking questions about what they are saying. Just sitting there and agreeing is good but not enough. Active listening prompts the speaker for more information about what they are saying. You do not have to agree with much or anything about what they are saying or their assertions. Just keep in mind that it is true to them. Therefore, by you listening to them, asking questions about the problem, and showing them that you understand how that is a problem goes a long way with trust. Again, by showing them that you understand their problem doesn’t mean that it’s a real problem or that its a problem to anyone but them. A good technique is to repeat the last few words of what they just finished saying. Try it with someone. 

What have you done? 

Ask them a very important question, “what have you done to solve your problem?” That question should encourage the speaker to talk about the different ways they have tried to solve their problem. What you are trying to get to here is that with all that they have done, they still have the problem. Again, active listening goes a long way here. “So you tried to sleep, drink, take drugs, take medications, and avoid doing things that make you anxious, but you are still anxious? “ The point here is to get them to see that they have tried many things to solve their problem, so they may not have the skill to solve this problem. By the end of step 2, they should be starting to see that they don’t know how to solve their problem. 

Get the “No”.

Science has shown us that getting a “no” is easier than getting a “yes.” For the sake of this article it doesn’t matter why. Your job now is to get the “no.” “Would it be out of line for me to suggest something?” “Is it inappropriate for me to recommend a good therapist to you?” “Is it a crazy idea that you find a professional that could help you with this problem?” Getting the “no” means restructuring your question to get a “no” from the other person. It will be easier for them to say “no” than to say “yes.” 

Once you have practiced these steps on someone, you should have a resource for them. A good resource is a therapist that you trust, or a psychotherapy directory website that you trust. Making it easy for them to take the next step is crucial. Also, ideally the resource you gave them is a reputable one, because if it isn’t, they may not trust psychotherapy or any other suggestions you give them in the future. Good Luck!