How to Help Someone Who Needs Counseling - Marla Stanley

 OYou know that your friend, family member, or loved one needs help. However, how do you help them get the help and support they need via counseling? You know that you can’t force them to go, and the situation is so delicate that you don’t want to push them away from you, or from God and what He wants to do in their life right now.

“Overlooking requires great patience, and confrontation requires great wisdom.”

–Karen Sawyer

Here are a few steps you can take to lovingly help the person in your life who is in need right now:

 

  1. Pray for them! There may be aspects to their situation that you aren’t even aware of, and there is nothing more powerful in anyone’s life than prayer. Trust that the Lord desires victory in each of your lives, and He is at work to win that battle.
  2. Examine your own heart, and align yourself to Jesus’ example of loving action rid of any judgment or condemnation. Often our desire to help can come across critical, judgmental, and rude. Perhaps, because it is. Matthew 7 is clear that we need to judge ourselves first and practice diligence removing the “planks” from our own view before we confront another’s faults. We can have the best of intentions and be incredibly skilled in many areas, but if we aren’t loving it’s simply noise (1 Cor. 13).
  3. Follow Matthew 18 when confronting an issue. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide your conversation, and always begin this process on a 1:1 basis, practicing strict confidentiality and total honesty. Have you already engaged in gossip-laced conversation and spoken about this person’s issue with another individual? Stop and repent immediately. Confess that what you did was wrong, and go address the concern you have with your sister quickly. If they do not hear you after speaking 1:1, you take 1-2 people with you and attempt again.
  4. Identify the problem-perhaps you know what’s going on already. Regardless of the extent of your knowledge, speak in observations rather than accusations. For instance, “I have noticed you don’t seem interested in getting out much the past few months.” or “It seems like you don’t want to eat anything lately.” or “Correct me if I’m wrong: it seems like you’re really frustrated with your kids lately.” Once you do this, close your mouth and wait for a response. Allow her to answer you and give her space to explain how she has been feeling and what she has been facing.
  5. Always confront in person. Arrange to meet face-to-face if it’s at all possible. Don’t let yourself off the hook here! It’s going to be uncomfortable. That’s okay–you love her enough to be uncomfortable for a few minutes to preserve the relationship for life.
  6. Affirm them and the relationship before entering into any confrontation. Express your genuine love for them and affirm “who” they are (inner qualities, gifts, character traits). You can create a “sandwich” with affirmation as the bread before and after the topic you need to confront. 

These are just a few tips for entering into the difficult conversation of confrontation when a loved one needs help. Remember your job in this situation is simply to encourage her towards the Lord in whatever way she is ready to pursue Him. His timing is perfect–trust Him!