Using “I” statements is important for healthy communication when approaching a loved one about going to treatment for mental health. Avoiding statements which use “you” is helpful in avoiding any misinterpretations of accusations and blame, which typically lead to defensiveness and denial. Instead of you need help try I am worried about your wellbeing. During treatment, there are many opportunities for healing relationships and having therapeutic conversations to discuss past hurts or harms. By using aggressive language, the purpose of the discussion is overlooked. The point is not that your loved one is sick and unwell, but that they are in need of a structured treatment program to gain back their health and develop skills for living in recovery.
Be Prepared For Fears, Disguised As Excuses
Going to treatment for mental health is not an easy decision to make. There are many fears, insecurities, and doubts which can instantly come up at the very mention of it. Without the proper tools to regulate or articulate emotion, it will be difficult for your loved one to effectively communicate their fears. Excuses, justifications, rebuttals, and even defensive blaming might be the way they show their insecurity about going to treatment. Repeat to them, it’s okay to be afraid while reminding them they can walk through fear courageously by choosing to go.
Validate Their Experience
Some mental health issues are developed as coping mechanisms to deal with trauma and abuse. From mood disorders and personality disorders to chemical dependency issues and compulsive behavioral issues, there could be a “reason” behind why they have evolved to this place, even if their current state has become unmanageable. Rather than point out their justifications or tell them they have to “get over it”, validate their experiences. We can never truly know what it is like to live someone else’s life, despite how close our own experiences might be. Encourage them to believe that treatment is a way to make peace with the past, heal the present, and develop a healthy foundation for the future. There is an end to suffering, and it lies in recovery.
Together, the family can heal and develop a lifetime of recovery. Cottonwood Tucson offers a weeklong family program, providing five days of eight hour training, therapy, and family interaction. Our clinically proven addiction rehab and behavioral health treatment programs have been helping people heal from co-occurring disorders for over twenty years. For information on how our programs are providing hope and healing, call us today by dialing (800) 877-4520.