How to help a friend get counseling

It can be challenging to encourage a friend to seek counseling, especially if they are resistant to the idea. However, as a friend, it is essential to support them and encourage them to get the help they need. Here are some tips on how to encourage a friend to seek counseling:

  • Express your concerns: Start by expressing your concern for your friend. Let them know that you have noticed changes in their behavior or mood, and you are worried about them. Be specific about what you have observed and how it is affecting them and their relationships.
  • Normalize counseling: Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking counseling. Normalize the idea of counseling by sharing stories of people you know who have sought therapy and how it has helped them. Let your friend know that seeking counseling is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • Offer to help: Offer to help your friend find a counselor or therapist. Do some research on your own and provide them with a list of resources. You can also offer to go with them to their first appointment or provide transportation if needed.
  • Avoid judgment: It is important to avoid judgment when encouraging your friend to seek counseling. Try to avoid using words like “crazy” or “weak” that may make them feel defensive or ashamed. Instead, be empathetic and understanding of their struggles.
  • Listen actively: If your friend opens up to you about their struggles, be an active listener. Try to understand their perspective and avoid giving unsolicited advice. Let them know that you are there for them and will support them through the counseling process.
  • Be patient: It is essential to be patient with your friend. Encouraging them to seek counseling may take time, and they may need to come to the decision on their own. Avoid pushing them too hard, as this may create resistance.

Encouraging a friend to seek counseling can be challenging, but it is crucial to their well-being. Be supportive, empathetic, and patient, and offer to help them find the resources they need. Remember that seeking counseling is a brave and courageous step, and you are there to support them every step of the way.

Professional counselors are available at Olive Branch Counseling in Tinley. Contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.

Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern 2023

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