Dear Dr. Romance: How can I get my husband into therapy?


Men are often reluctant to seek therapy.

Dear Dr. Romance :

I'm getting worried because my husband is drinking more, and laughing less. He works too much, he has lost interest in his guy friends and sports. He's gotten more tense, and is on edge and irritable. Sometimes he even yells at me and the kids. I think maybe he needs professional help. What can I do? How can I get my husband into therapy?

Dear Reader:

Your husband or may believe that therapy is for the weak, and he was probably taught to be tough, self-reliant and never ask for help. Men are often reluctant to seek therapy. I recommend a progression of things to try to get him to go for counseling.

Sometimes an ultimatum works: "You get six sessions of therapy or I'm getting a divorce." But there are also other ways to encourage your partner to get therapy. You know him best. Think about what has worked most successfully in the past when you wanted him to do something he didn't want to do. How do you influence him? Plant the seed and nurture it. Be prepared to give him some time to get comfortable with the idea. Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences has many helpful exercises to help you communicate better with him.

See if you can suggest to your husband's doctor to prescribe therapy.  Internists, family doctors and even urologists are now trained to assess emotional disorders and to make referrals to therapists.  If asking your husband directly to get therapy doesn't work, make a doctor's appointment for him and talk to the doctor beforehand, asking him to prescribe therapy.  This works with many men.

If you go to church as a couple, ask for a couple session with your priest, minister or advisor, and tell spiritual counselor in advance that you think your husband needs to see a therapist.

If your husband likes to read online, "Anger: Cleansing Squall or Hurricane?" and "Anger Management" may help him understand himself better.

If none of this works, ask him to go to a therapy session with you. Say you’re unhappy, and you need his help.  When you get there, tell the therapist you're unhappy because your husband seems so unhappy.  Be willing to help him with it and cooperate with what the therapist recommends. "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find an appropriate therapist or counselor.


For low-cost counseling, email me at tina@tinatessina.com

This article was originally published at Dr. Romance Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.