How To Get Men (and Women) To Go To Counseling

When it comes to mental health counseling there is no other being more afraid of the idea than Black men lol. In fact, I have many clients who are in counseling to cope with the stress of the person who really needs it (typically men) but refuses to go. It can really cause havoc on marital, family and even work relationships.

As a man I get it...we don't like to ask for help, admit fault, and/or feel like the problem. However, how can we really endorse a decision to not get help and intentionally stress our loved ones out (wife, girlfriend, parents, kids, co-workers, friends, etc.). How can fear or discomfort be a "manly" or "womanly" (trying not to get in trouble here) reason to not seek help or solution?

Let's be real. If we know you have issues with past trauma, anger management, being too passive (talking about what you want to do but not doing it), insecurity, trust, socializing, cheating, depression, anxiety, communication, relationships, substance abuse, etc. why would you not take action to be well?

It really doesn't make much sense if your goal is wellness, growth and joy. Personally, I could care less about the stigma of getting help. I care more about struggling and failing and the stigma of that! I refuse to stress, conflict or life issues to derail the life God has afforded me. Besides, this world is ROUGH and I need all of the help, wise counsel and therapy I can get. I have dreams, a family and my own joy to focus on.

Quick note, even though I am focusing on primary men in this post, there are plenty of women who resist going to counseling too. It pains me to see relationship after relationship suffer because the same issues keep causing conflict. Ask yourself, ladies, would you rather be proud or happy? Get those issues worked out so that you can take a whole, healthy woman into your marriage, friendships and business quests!

Okay, let's quickly address six solutions for convincing someone you love (male or female) to go counseling:

1) Choose the right time- Be both proactive and reactive in suggesting counseling. Many clients come into counseling immediately after a regrettable event (getting fired, wife left the house, etc.) and a loved one recommended it out of concern. Make sure you are strategic at striking when the iron is hot (after a problem) and often (when things are going well but they have a pattern of inconsistency). You would be surprised how well revisiting the suggestion of seeking counseling works after someone has failed to get better over time (doing it their way didn't work).

2) Approach with care vs. judgment- Make sure you start the conversation by expressing how much you care about them as a person. Judge the behavior (drinking, angry outbursts, anxiety, irritability, infidelity, etc.) versus the person. This helps to avoid defensiveness. Also, give them the vision- "I want to see you be well, happier and thrive in life or for our marriage to work." Market counseling as something that will make them stronger vs. feel stigmatized.