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Guidance for concerned family members

Helping a family member or friend who is going through tough times

Here at the clinic, we receive many enquiries about our services from people who are concerned about a family member, partner or friend. While this is understandable, there are other things you can try first before contacting us. Ideally, the person who needs therapy is the one who contacts us, because, as you’ll discover through this article, a person’s innate desire to heal is one of the key ingredients of successful recovery.

In this article, we’re going explain what makes for successful therapy, and we’ll also give you tips on what to do if someone you are concerned about is facing a tough time.

Exploring the key ingredients of successful therapy

It’s perfectly natural for people to have concerns about entering therapy – especially if they’ve never tried it before. Very often, from the time we’re children, we’re conditioned to only discuss pleasant or happy topics publicly – while problems or family secrets (like addiction) get swept under the rug, never to be discussed or seen again.

A large part of successful therapy rests on finding a person you can open up to and trust. Like any relationship, you’ll click more with some people than with others. Our large team of qualified psychologists has people from all kinds of backgrounds and we work as a team to ensure the right people are working with each other – so the people with the most relevant skills and appropriate personality will be assigned to you. Our arrangements can be flexible too, so that as you grow and change, we can switch the team as needed. Also, we can work with you in person, or over skype sessions – whatever’s easiest at the time.

Perhaps the main ingredient of successful therapy lies within the person who requires therapy. They need to want to get better. It’s their desire to heal that will give them the energy needed to embark on a journey of self-growth and self-development. How much self-development work will be required, depends on the issue the person is facing at the time. Some therapeutic arrangements require as little as 10 session of mindfulness training and some people will require a year or two of regular therapy sessions. It all depends on the case at hand.

This is why we advise concerned family members to suggest or encourage therapy as an option – but ultimately, as a family member you’ll need to take a step back and allow the person in question to discover their own ‘inner-yes’ to choosing therapy. It’s the act of reaching out for help that initiates the healing process within a person – and will strengthen this person’s resolve to maintain good psychological health over the long-term.

Why working with a specialised clinic makes sense

Many people will approach their GP as a first port of call, as GPs can often prescribe the same medications that we do. However, by working with a specialised clinic like ours, you can be sure that we’ll assess your psychological health in great detail, and wherever possible, we’ll try to help you overcome your challenges without the use of medication – if that is also an approach you feel comfortable with trying first.

Our dually trained specialist in therapy psychiatrist is an expert at seeking solutions that will strengthen you long into the future. If we assess your mental health and can teach you techniques that will transform difficult areas in your life without medication, we’ll always suggest those – in addition to other options, like medication. All the pros and cons of each option will be weighed with you, so you can make the best decision.

Validate and empower the person you care about

Now if you’re wondering what you can do as a concerned family member, partner or friend, we believe there are many subtle things you can do to offer the appropriate amount of emotional and psychological support.

If you can offer a listening ear to this person, to hear and understand what they’re going through, this will help the person in question straight away. Listening without reacting or judging is key and is one of the most helpful things you can do in any relationship.

Validating their emotions is another simple thing you can do. All emotions are ‘right’ – there is no such thing as ‘wrong’ when it comes to emotions. We all feel all emotions, they are a natural part of life.

Empowering a person in your life by pointing out that they can make good decisions for themselves and have done so before, is also helpful. Remind them of good decisions they’ve made in the past – and that they have many more to make in the future.

Suggest a ‘taster’ session, or initial consultation

At the clinic, we offer comprehensive initial consultation sessions that are designed to map out exactly where a person is at, in terms of their psychological health. We take an audit of what you’re going through and what kind of challenges are present in your life today.

For those who aren’t sure if therapy is the right approach for them, this initial session is actually a good test – it helps a person see if they like the setup, and if they like looking at their own life from the new perspectives that are generated through discussions with their psychologist. Every now and then, we’ll have a person who finds the initial session overwhelming, but what we’ve noticed, is that in these cases people do return, sometimes months later – when they feel ready to take on more regular sessions.

Cases where it is okay to call on behalf of someone else

It’s quite possible to be concerned about someone whose psychological health is so impaired that they can’t make any decision at all. Perhaps, as a family, you’ve tried everything, and nothing is working. Also, you might have a child or a young teenager who is truly in need of help. In these instances, it can be appropriate to call on behalf of someone else.

We’ve helped many people find their way from deep states of psychological imbalance to good, renewed psychological health. If you would like to discuss what kind of therapy arrangements can help you or your family, then please do contact us for a confidential chat.