Choose The Right Time And Place For Your Approach
Telling someone to get counseling can easily come across as an offensive statement, even if you have good intensions. Thus it is important for you to choose the right time and place for your conversation. If you bring the subject up at an inappropriate time, your friend may turn against you or ignore the suggestion entirely. Simply put, you could be setting yourself up for failure.
The “right” time to approach someone about speaking to a counselor will vary from person to person. You should choose a moment when you can speak to the person, uninterrupted, for a long stretch of time. For example, if you are trying to speak to your spouse about marriage counseling, you may wait until after the children have gone to bed, or early in the morning before they wake up.
You should also keep in mind the circumstances leading up to your discussion. You do not want to bring up a topic like this shortly after a fight because it will come across in a spiteful way. You may want to avoid a day when the person is feeling particularly depressed, angry, anxious, etc. The wrong time could make an honest approach seem like an attack.
This is a private matter, so the conversation needs to take place in a private, comfortable location. In most cases, this will either be at your home or at your friend or family member’s home. You may also consider discussing the matter at your place of worship if the person you’re confronting has a strong belief system.
Keep in mind that this is about making the other person comfortable, not you. Think about his or her needs when approaching this conversation so you end up with the best results.
Set Yourself Up For Success – How To Start The Conversation
Begin your discussion by telling your loved one you need to have an important conversation with them. This will ensure that the person is paying attention to you when you speak, so you don’t have to repeat yourself and your statements are clearly understood. A simple “We need to talk” may not be enough. “I need to discuss something really important with you” would be more effective.
Let your loved one know that you care for them and the struggles they’re going through. Enter the discussion from a place of empathy. Say something similar to “I know life isn’t easy for you right now. I truly care about what you’re going through, and I want to find a way to help.”