Ways to Tell Your Friends and Family You Are In Therapy
The time has come for you to tell your friends and family about your mental health struggles and let them know that you are in therapy. However, it can be scary and intimidating to open up to these people, no matter how close they are to you. You might be afraid that they will judge you or think that you are being weak. But, you shouldn’t be scared of this.
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health issue every year, and more people are openly talking about their feelings and experiences than ever before. The stigma surrounding mental health is dwindling, and you should no longer feel afraid. As people tend to have a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing these days, talking to your loved ones can be a big step towards recovery as they can offer you additional support.
Read on to understand how to tell your friends, family, partner and boss that you are in therapy.
How to Tell Your Parents
Telling your parents is a common worry for many people in therapy. You don’t want to upset your family or let them down. You may even be concerned that your parents might think that you don’t believe that they are ‘good’ enough to help, or that you don’t trust them enough to talk to them. But reassure them that you just want to see a professional. Let them know that you have chosen to talk to someone who is completely objective about your situation as you think that their unbiased advice could help.
If possible, show your parents your therapist’s website so they can feel more familiar with them. This may help them to warm to the idea of you speaking to someone about your feelings, as well as give them a sense of realisation that you have given it a lot of thought and you do need this help from a professional. Also, if your parents are confused about any aspect of therapy, most counsellors are happy to talk over the phone or face to face to reassure them.
Sometimes parents can get upset when they realise that you have been struggling and need some additional support, especially if they hadn’t noticed a change in you themselves. If this happens, you can end the discussion for the day and reassure them. Wait for the shock to pass then you can highlight the fact that you just want help from someone who keeps everything confidential, remains impartial and is experienced in helping people in situations like yours and that you will feel better with time.
This conversation can be more difficult if you are a teenager who wants to go to therapy; it can be very nerve-wracking, especially if you are asking them to help you financially. Many teenagers are afraid to tell their parents about their mental health worries and their desire to attend therapy. This could be because they are worried that their family will want to know everything about the ‘problem’ to ‘solve’ it themselves. So, the first thing you should tell them is that you are trying to solve your current challenges without relying on them. Do your research and calmly explain why you think it could help you and how you really feel.
How to Tell Your Partner
Telling your partner that you are in therapy can often be more intimidating than telling your parents. You know that your parents will love you no matter what and will stand by your decision to go to therapy. Whereas, your partner may feel scared and wonder if you have doubts or feel unhappy due to your relationship.
If you are in a fairly new relationship, it is generally best to bring up therapy and any issues you are facing after you have been dating for a few months and are starting to get serious. If your partner responds well to you opening up about therapy, then you can move forward into an honest and empathetic conversation that can bring you both closer.
If you are in a longer-term relationship, you may not want to keep secrets. Trust is extremely important, and if you leave the conversation too late, your partner could feel like you have been lying or hiding things from them. Sneaking around and keeping your feelings locked up can cause rifts in your love life and lead to even more issues. Chances are your partner will only want to support you in any way they can.
How to Tell Your Friends
Deciding whether or not to tell your friends about your mental health worries can be a hard decision. You trust them, but you also don’t want them to start treating you differently or feel uncomfortable around you. You should think about who you trust and who you think would understand your position. You may even discover that some of your friends have had issues of their own.
Make sure you are open and honest throughout the whole conversation, as your friends may be able to understand what you are going through better. If you want to, you can provide some examples, whatever you feel comfortable sharing, this can also help them to see what you have been facing. Telling your friends about therapy doesn’t mean that you have to tell them about every conversation you have with your therapist, but it does mean that you have another outlet to speak about your worries and fears to when outside of therapy.
How to Tell Your Boss
If your performance has dropped in work, or you have been taking a lot of sick days, you may want to make your boss aware of your mental health issues. Be open and honest about how you are feeling and let them know that you are in therapy as there is nothing to be ashamed of. Making them aware of the situation can be beneficial as they may have been confused by the change in your productivity or attitude and be glad to hear that you are seeking help and support to recover. They may be able to lighten your workload or even be happy for you to work different hours to accommodate your therapy sessions.
There could also be other aspects of your work life that aggravate your mental health concerns. If there is something at work that affects you negatively, your boss must work with you to fix it. Adjustments could be changes to your working area or hours, working from home more often, or being allowed to take some time off work for treatment, assessment or rehabilitation.
It can be hard to tell people about your mental health and admit that you are in therapy, but sometimes it can seem necessary. The most important thing to remember during this time is that it doesn’t make you any less of a person and your boss, friends and family shouldn’t think of you any differently. If you think that therapy might be the best choice for you to understand and overcome your mental health struggles, then contact me today for more information on how my therapy sessions work.