How To Encourage Someone To See A Therapist

Photographed by Bianca Valle.
When a person you care about is going through something, it's only natural to want to do everything you can to help them feel better. While this person is probably very grateful to have your support, there's really only so much you can do as a friend, family member, or even partner. There comes a point where they could really benefit from seeing a professional who can provide some unbiased advice and insight. But saying, You need therapy, doesn't always go smoothly.
"Many people push back against the idea that they can't solve a problem on their own," says Kristin Zeising, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and couples therapist in San Diego. The reality is that we live in an "individualistic society," in which you're expected to be able to fix all of your problems, so going to therapy is often seen as a weakness, Dr. Zeising explains. "There is a sense of shame for not feeling emotionally healthy, yet going to a therapist to assist in becoming emotionally healthy is often stigmatized," she says. Someone who hasn't been to therapy might also feel vulnerable or scared about sharing their intimate thoughts with a therapist they've never met, Dr. Zeising says, adding, "They may fear being judged or feel like no one else would understand their experience."
But going to therapy is awesome, and tons of people see a therapist. A 2004 survey found that 48% of people polled reported that someone in their household had seen a mental health professional — and you can expect that number to be way higher today. Any person who thinks that they are "not living up to all they could be" would benefit from therapy, according to Dr. Zeising. If you want to persuade someone to see a therapist, here are a few tools you can use.