Sometimes life throws a curveball, and everything feels a bit off-kilter. At times like this, relationships can get dicey, especially if money is an issue and employment woes are at the forefront. For many people, recent developments such as heighted confinement at home have contributed to emotional, psychological, even physical difficulties that result in or exacerbate substance abuse, problem drug or alcohol use, and frayed family and personal dynamics. If this strikes a chord, are you looking for ways to get your man to go to therapy?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in late June 2020 in the United States, during the initial widespread contagion of COVID-19, 40 percent of individuals surveyed said they’d struggled with issues of mental health or substance abuse, and thoughts of suicide.
Findings from a study by BMJ Open, an online journal, already showed soaring increases in the “diseases of despair,” including substance abuse, suicidal thoughts/behaviors, and alcohol dependency covering the years 2009-2018. The current pandemic only exacerbates the trend toward increasing diseases of despair.
Why is it Difficult for Someone to Seek Professional Care?
If you are married to a man who’s been having problems with alcohol or drugs, you may be asking yourself, “How can I get my husband to go to therapy?” While it’s not only men who may be reluctant to get professional help, many men can fall into this category. They may think they are capable of handling anything that has to do with their drinking, drug use, anger, depression, or another behavioral or mental health issue. The fact that negative consequences mount does not seem to have any bearing on this inaccurate belief.
Other barriers to seeking professional care when a husband or boyfriend needs therapy include:
- Cost of therapy/treatment
- Fear of losing a job
- The stigma attached to mental health or substance abuse disorder
- Being away from family
- Surrendering control
- Having to face their fears
- Worry about not being able to take care of obligations
- Fear about the loss of stature in the family
- Fear others will lose respect
Validate Their Desire to Seek Help
People need to know their desire to get help doesn’t always need to be overt. They may secretly want help, yet feel afraid or reluctant to say so. Also, helping convince someone to go to therapy can be a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, a neutral and unthreatening discussion can get the conversation started, although it may quickly stall. On the other, making demands and threatening consequences may turn a potentially salvageable, albeit thin hope that may help when a significant other needs therapy into an unbridgeable chasm that can’t be crossed.
These considerations don’t just pertain to treatment-intensive situations involving substance abuse and mental health care— they also apply to outpatient services like relationship and personal therapy. The desire to seek help is both noble and caring. It is a testament to how much you’re willing to do to help someone you love get the professional therapy they need.
Tips on Ways to Get Your Man to Go to Therapy
How to approach this delicate topic of ways to get your man to go to therapy is a study in patience, persistence, and love. Here are some suggestions:
1. Scope it Out Ahead of Time
Do the necessary legwork so he won’t have to. Search for treatment centers that specialize in the type of problem for which your husband needs therapy. Inquire about what’s involved, how much it costs, whether insurance covers all, most, or some of therapy and treatment, whether residential or outpatient treatment is recommended, how long therapy takes, and what types of aftercare or continuing care may be available.
Why is this important? Arming yourself with as much information as possible means you’ll be better prepared to counter any arguments about specifics that could stand in the way of him getting treatment. This doesn’t mean there won’t be other areas to contend with, but it is a solid step in the right direction when you’re looking for ways to get your man to go to therapy.
2. Talk About How Therapy can Help
Another tip to convince someone to go to therapy is to talk about how therapy can help. Reluctance to seek therapeutic help may be rooted in a lack of information about what therapy, also called talk therapy or psychotherapy, can do to help an individual. Therapy is strongly recommended for those who may have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, but it’s also appropriate and highly recommended for anyone who’s struggling with a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other issues. Talk therapy is designed to help people cope with internal and external responses to what’s going on in life. These responses can be cognitive, behavioral, and emotional. Such therapy involves a process that includes introspection, self-exploration, reflection, and other possibly suitable approaches.
It’s also not going to last forever, which should serve to allay concerns about therapy going on for many months. Specific therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, often involve a timeframe or number of sessions. Having the reassurance of going to a set appointment or session for therapy each week, or the knowledge that the type of therapy (like residential or in-patient treatment) typically takes 30-60 days can also help an individual set aside their fears and consider getting help.
3. Be Supportive and Sensitive While Showing Care for Their Well-Being
Be upfront and enthusiastic with your support and sensitivity about therapy and any concerns that a boyfriend or husband has. The individual must know you understand how they feel, such as whether they’re afraid of stigma or feel shame about attending therapy or may harbor some other fear. Demonstrate how much you care about their well-being.
- Ways to get your man to go to therapy include offering to go with them to the first appointment and waiting for them while they’re in therapy.
- Let them know that getting help is normal and common. About 80 million people receive some type of treatment for anxiety, depression, or other issues of mental health. Also, talk about the fact that these problems may be related to a known or undiagnosed medical condition, so making an appointment to see a family physician is a good first step to getting the right kind of assistance.
- When voicing concern, use statements like, “I am worried about what’s going on with you,” or “I have noticed this drinking habit occurs when things are upsetting,” and not using “you” in such comments. The latter leaves an impression of blame or that the individual has done something wrong. It’s seen as an attack or pointing out a character flaw. Getting help for a problem doesn’t involve blame, is not a sign of weakness of character, and has nothing to do with being wrong.
4. Propose Attending Therapy as an Experiment
Offer the proposal of going to one therapy appointment as an experiment, or being willing to get an evaluation and assessment to see if there’s something that can help. Saying you’ll accompany him when your husband needs therapy if he agrees to try it out could be less concerning than trying to extract a commitment right now for anything of unknown duration.
Have a list of 3-4 therapists who are local and come highly recommended. Be ready to recomend them and say you’ll call and make the appointment if your husband or boyfriend says “yes” to a first session.
5. Get Help for Yourself
Regardless of the outcome and whether your husband or boyfriend decides to go to therapy, the issues won’t go away on their own. Learning to cope in the interim by getting help for oneself is critically important. Besides, attending a self-help or support group of family, loved ones, and friends of those who are struggling with substance abuse, mental health disorder, behavioral issue, or other concerns mean being better prepared to handle the ups and downs of living with and caring for someone who may not be ready to get help yet.
Final Tip – Someone Has to Want to Get Help
Be prepared for the fact that no matter what you say, it may not be enough to propel the man in your life into therapy and treatment. He has to want to get help and he may not be willing to admit he needs it quite yet. This is why interventionists exist and why our experienced admissions counselors at FHE Health are on hand 24/7 to provide advice and support to those who need it. Whether it’s therapy for substance use disorder or another mental health issue, sometimes an outside expert like FHE Health can be more persuasive at convincing a loved one to go to treatment. For more information, call us today.