More on therapy referrals

whirling-ghost replied to your post “About making therapy referrals”

Make sure it’s the appropriate type too. Like I got referred for group, despite the fact I was terrified of being in a room with people I didn’t know. Obviously that wasn’t going to work

realsocialskills said:

Yes, this too. Therapy isn’t just one thing. It’s a lot of different things.  It also matters who is involved; therapists are not interchangeable. Even when someone unquestionably needs therapy, the wrong therapist can still make matters worse.
Generically telling someone “get therapy” is not likely to be a helpful suggestion. Everyone knows that therapy exists; everyone will have had others tell them to get therapy.
A useful referral has to be more specific and based on something. It also needs to involve respecting the person you’re working with, listening to what they think of your suggestion, and recognizing it as their decision.
  • “It sounds like you’re struggling with your sexual identity. I know a therapist who has a good track record of helping men think through that. Would you like their name?”
  • “Some people who find that talk therapy doesn’t help them have found that CBT does, since it is concrete and based on learning skills and changing your thinking. What do you think about trying that?”
  • “A lot of students who have come to me with similar problems around finals have found the counseling center helpful. Is that something you feel comfortable trying?”
  • “It’s hard to go through that kind of loss when none of your friends can relate; I think that peer support might help you. There’s a grief support group; would you like to try that?”
  • “The problems you’re describing are often caused by clinical depression, which is often treatable. I think it might be a good idea to get evaluated in case that’s the problem. There is a doctor we recommend who is respectful and listens to patients. What do you think about that?”