How do you refer a friend for therapy


 

44. FriendHugIt’s a tricky situation this one. When you notice a friend or family member could do with help or support beyond what you’re equipped to give, how do you suggest to them ‘I think you should see a therapist?’ without hearing expletives come back at you?

 

There are lots of reasons why we can spot things about our friends that they can’t see for themselves. You might see:

 

  • A recurring pattern: dating the same type of controlling guy for example. They’re too caught up in the details of ‘but this guy’s different’ to notice that they’re repeating a life lesson
  • An addiction: could be to alcohol, drugs, sex or a personality type – whatever it is it takes a very aware person to acknoweledge that they’re living with a dependence on something (or someone)
  • A sadness: most people get sad sometimes – it’s part of the spectrum of emotions we’re privileged enough to encounter. The frequency and the depth to which we feel sad can differ greatly and when you’re in it it’s possible to say ‘doesn’t everyone feel down sometimes’ without recognising that you’ve been like that for 6 weeks now – your mind needs help to get back its resilience and bounce-back
  • A destruction: self harming and eating disorders can often be hidden from those at work or others in a house hold. Over time though it’s often the case that family or friends will notice a routine forming or a regular oddity (why does she always go to the toilet after dinner; or why does he always wear long sleeves even on a hot  summer’s day). Often just asking the question is enough for the person to share some extra details – but reason on its own (even with the best of intentions) is rarely enough to transform the behaviour
  • A debilitation: with panic attacks or with anxiety or stress, it can be the case that your friend will begin to retreat from socialising (with valid enough sounding excuses), will have increased sick days, will step down from opportunities they may previously have been front of the queue for.

 

To be helpful in all the above situations you would first have to be able to:

  • spot the harmful changes (being drunk as a one off is different than drinking to excess 4nights a week)
  • know how to confront the topic (to come alongside the person we care about and not judge them or offer simplistic solutions)
  • know the limitations of what can be dealt with as a friend and what should be passed to a professional (plus also, could you recommend a great therapist? – Like a personal trainer there are ones who can talk the talk, and those who can get authentic results fast).

So here are 5 ways you could approach a conversation with a friend or family member so they might hear that you care enough to suggest they see a good therapist:

  1. Ask some questions: you can’t show you genuinely care unless you’ve proved your willing to listen. ‘So what’s been going on’; ‘how have you been feeling’; ‘what are you thinking is going to turn this round’; ‘what have you tried’; ‘what are the consequences if you keep going like this’
  2. Plant a seed: do your research well and tell your friend (child, sibling, parent) that you’ve heard of someone (or some therapy type – like for us it’s Human Givens therapy) who gets extraordinary results fast. ‘I can email you the website or the number if you want to check it out’.
  3. Tell a ‘dear John’ story: like if you’d heard that ‘this friend of mine’s daughter’ had an amazing turn around from her addiction after she spoke to this great therapist.
  4. Don’t judge: a friend doesn’t want to hear a judgement about the tough point they’re going through right now. It might seem simple to you from the outside. It’s not simple for them, so if you’re going to say a ‘should’ or an ‘ought’  – stay silent and count to 10!
  5. Care & invest: if you need to go with them on session one, do it. If they need a bit more support getting into a new routine, be there. Encourage, cheer and love. They’d do the same for you.

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.

 



Successful divorce – is it doable?


14. respectful divorce

 

Best together? Best apart? Stay married? Get divorced? These are not assumptions I make when a husband, wife or partner comes to talk to me (either separately or together). Relationships are extraordinarily unique things and two (or more) people can be in one, be committed, yet still have entirely different perspectives about longevity, intimacy, sharing, friendship, ownership, control, roles and contribution within a household.

 

We learn models of what makes a ‘good’ relationship from what we observe when we’re growing up – parents, older family, couples we know from church, school or clubs. Possibly without conscious thought we hear stories and layer assumption after assumption onto ‘marriage’ or ‘living together’ and progress into adult life with those assumptions relatively unchallenged. Rarely do they match up when we get to the point of choosing a partner and moving to co-habiting with them.

 

The concept of ‘forever’ is hugely tied up with a successful relationships. But is that really the case? Or can we put this in a personal choice category along with: quantity of time spent with each other; common interests; matching faiths or philosophies; cultural or socio-economily similar backgrounds. These topics could be highly relevant or not at all – there’s really no right or wrong answer.

 

Some of the most common assumptions I hear are:

  • Yes, they’re happily married – they’ve been together for 30 years
  • They have 4 children and one on the way – they’re so committed
  • She’s his wife – of course she knows how he feels
  • Women are just better at nurturing and raising children
  • They must be happy … they never argue
  • They got divorced – that’s a failed relationships

This list is inexhaustible because no people who choose to live a chapter of their life together can ever fully know how that’s going to play out over the months, years and decades to come. One of the biggest challenges to a partnership that I see is when a person or couple reference their success against other couples, then register dissatisfaction because their relationship isn’t as supportive, happy, exciting or authentic as the couple they ‘think they know’.

 

It’s important to note that:

  • generally couples don’t disclose or dissect  their full experiences with other couples (there perhaps isn’t the time, isn’t the right trust, or there can be a sense of not wanting to be seen to be ‘failing’)
  • most couples are happy to share the fun, special or unusual event or experiences of their relationship – and not the routine, painful or challenging bits
  • often the people we seek advice from (older family members or friends) are having or have had similar challenges within their relationship. They may still together because they’ve developed tolerance (not a bad thing) but perhaps not always a deep understanding. They’re perhaps not fully equipped (or expert) then to offer you a well-thought-through strategy that will turn your relationship around

 

Successful relationships have a life cycle – they might well have ups and downs be destined for ‘forever’. They may equally have ups and downs and reach a point were one or both parties no longer see their futures together. Either way it’s the respect, the hope and the ability to communicate that will ultimately define whether successful divorce follows or whether successful togetherness continues.

 

 

Jennifer Broadley is the founder of www.HealthyChat.co.uk. Since 2012 she has worked full time delivering therapeutic, life-changing conversations from her private practices in Aberdeen, Dundee and the north of Scotland. She additionally works with UK clients by phone and European clients by skype. In 2002 Jennifer set up an executive coaching company supporting the continued high performance of business leaders and entrepreneurs working for medium and large companies – she is still active in this sector through www.JenniferBroadley.com.

 

Jennifer was brought up in West Africa, educated in Scotland and lived and worked in Hong Kong, Australia and Indonesia before returning to a London base in 1997. She and her daughter now live on the UK's east coast, where she continues to coach and write. Jennifer is a writer and a published author. Her first book 'The 7 Steps to Personal & Professional Freedom'®, is available on www.Amazon.co.uk. For therapy or executive coaching enquiries please email, message or call Jennifer via her websites.