Ambush Therapy

If you’re concerned about a loved one and want them to get help, it can be challenging to convince them to speak to a therapist.  You may be tempted to set up a therapy appointment and be dishonest with them about where they’re going.  You may believe that if you can just get them in the door and in front of a therapist that things will get better.

Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I’ve had many clients come into my office without knowing why they were there.  They were told they “had an appointment”, lied to or just not told anything at all.  This can cause obvious problems like distrust, hurt, anger, confusion and resentment.  What it almost always does is create difficulties in establishing a trusting relationship with the therapist.  This can be overcome (most of the time) but it’s not the best way to start.

There are ways to encourage spouses, family members, friends or kids to come into therapy.  I encourage my clients to be honest with the person they want to come to therapy.  I suggest that they tell them that they need their help with being a better parent, help with their own issues, or help with their marriage.  If you tell the person they need help and you’re taking them to talk to somebody about their problems, they are likely to be defensive!  Would you want that?

We all want to help people we care about.  If you ask them for their help with the problems you are having or for help in improving your relationship with them, you are more likely to get their buy in.

Give it some thought, and please reach out to me if you have any questions.

This article is not meant to provide clinical, therapeutic or legal advice.  This is not a substitute for professional therapeutic help.  If you’re in need of professional help, please contact a professional.  This is offered as educational information only.