How Do I refer someone for therapy?

Sometimes I am asked how people can recommend therapy to someone they care about who is in emotional pain. It may be uncomfortable to say, “I’m in therapy and finding great results”, or “You really ought to see a psychologist”. It may be easier to say, “I know of a therapist who specializes in treating _______” (anxiety, depression, relationship issues, addictions, etc.). Or, I have heard of a local therapist who has written about _______”. Just letting someone know where he or she can obtain more information about an emotional problem, can provide a step toward getting help.

You might also recommend looking at the increasing resources available on the Internet. On Dr. Nightingale’s website site there are anxiety and depression questionnaires for people wondering about their symptoms. This site also has free articles, including one on how to choose a therapist. Tell him or her that financial arrangements can be made by calling the therapist’s office. Often office staff will explain different payment methods, what the fees are for individual therapists, what if any discounts are available for paying at the time of visit, and may even check on insurance benefits for potential clients.

Therapy is about personal growth, exploration and finding coping skills to enjoy life again. Therapy is not a place of coercion, confrontation or where only seriously mentally ill people seek treatment. Therapy is more like having a coach for the most important sport you can play…your life.

Good results in therapy are best attained when a person has a good rapport with the therapist, is highly motivated to change painful aspects of life, and has specific treatment goals he or she wishes to attain.

© Lois V. Nightingale, Ph.D., 2018 Clinical Psychologist, (lic. #PSY9503), Marriage, Family and Child Therapist (lic # MA21027), director of the Nightingale Center, author, national speaker and mother  714-993-5343