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Can We Talk?

Is there a "right way" or "best approach" for convincing a troubled friend or loved one to get professional counseling? Any approach will include unease, but don’t let the adage "no one accepts help until they’re ready" stop you from giving it a try.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not fear of stigma that keeps people from accepting help for personal problems—resistance is usually founded on denial bolstered by brief wins at curtailing symptoms following negative events or incidents. These are also missed opportunities for change. They represent your best time to convince your friend or loved one to accept help, because they are accompanied by regret or remorse. Urgency for change is less likely when a person is feeling well, in control, and in a positive frame of mind. They may be easier to approach, but their positivity is usually helpful only at convincing you that all is well. Instead, make your approach after the next incidental crisis. Each one is your cue to make a move. Don’t give up.

With a supportive style, have the source of predetermined help at the ready as well as a way to access it. Try to avoid using guilt and regret when offering the suggestion of help. Make your time available to be supportive, encouraging, and facilitative until your friend is connected to help. Consider getting guidance from a professional counselor or EAP to boost your capability and the likelihood that you will be successful in helping your friend.

The Life-Work Connections Employee Assistance Program is brought to you by Well-U, helping eligible individuals to assess issues, and provide short-term counseling and referrals.

Keith Stein | 3/21/2019

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