Supporting

Support each other

Supporting a friend or family member receiving therapy can seem overwhelming. Do you talk with them or act as nothing has changed? The answer is simple. Do what you would do in any situation where a person near you needs support. If they bring up the subject, engage with them. Remember everyone needs help sometimes. If they want to discuss their therapy with you, listen if they chose to keep it private respect them. Just because someone is talking to a professional about issues it doesn’t make them unstable or even a different person than the one you know. What it does do is help them balance the stresses and issues in life and overcome barriers or feelings related to these.

Will this person change in therapy? Of course, they will, but they need support. People change every day. Sometimes just getting out of bed can start a person on the road to change and so can staying in bed. Don’t worry that you will be outgrown or left behind. That is not the goal of therapy. It is a way to work through difficult emotions, and situations with a guide, who offers suggestions. Exercises and homework can also be a part of therapy for the person. In some cases such as a 12 step program, the person may come to you with an apology and accept responsibility for something they did. Accept their apology if that is what you feel you can do. Remember honesty is the key to a healthy relationship and a person working on themselves in therapy deserves an honest, supporting relationship. If you feel you can’t accept the apology, don’t, stay calm and explain that there is relationship building to be done.

If the person in your life asks you to go to therapy with them, go. You may find that the experience is as rewarding for you and it is for them.