The decision to embark on therapy is brave, a testament to a deep desire for growth and healing. Yet, for both the individual seeking help and their loved ones, the journey can be fraught with uncertainty and emotional waves. 

Whether it’s your partner wrestling with past trauma, your parent navigating life changes, or your child seeking guidance, supporting someone in therapy requires sensitivity, understanding, and a willingness to adapt your interactions.

From Judgment to Validation:

First and foremost, acknowledge and celebrate their decision. Therapy isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a courageous step towards self-understanding and well-being. Resist the urge to minimize their struggles or question their choice. 

Instead, offer genuine support and validate their emotions. Their journey matters, and acknowledging that sets the stage for a supportive partnership.

Creating a Safe Harbor:

Imagine yourself as a lighthouse, offering a steady beacon of support during their metaphorical storm. Become a safe space where they can openly share their experiences, both positive and negative, without fear of judgment. Active listening, free from interruptions or unsolicited advice, is key. Focus on truly understanding their perspective, letting their words paint the picture of their emotional landscape.

Boundaries: Pillars, Not Walls:

Remember, therapy is a deeply personal journey. They may not always want to share every detail, and that’s okay. Respect their boundaries and avoid pushing for information they’re not comfortable disclosing. 

Offer support without being intrusive; ask open-ended questions and let them lead the conversation. Their comfort and trust are paramount.

Patience: A Key Ingredient:

Healing isn’t a linear race; it’s a winding path with hills and valleys. There will be days of breakthroughs and moments of regression. Be patient and understanding. Celebrate their victories, big and small, and offer unwavering support through setbacks. 

Their progress may not always be immediately visible, but your belief in their journey makes a world of difference.

Beyond Words: Actions Speak Volumes:

While verbal affirmations are vital, practical support can be even more impactful. Offer assistance based on their needs, be it childcare to facilitate appointments, help finding healthy coping mechanisms, or simply running errands that lift a burden. 

Remember, support doesn’t have to be grand gestures; sometimes, it’s the small, consistent acts that speak volumes.

Remember, You Have Needs Too:

Supporting someone in therapy can be emotionally demanding. Don’t neglect your own well-being. Set boundaries, seek support from your own network, and engage in activities that bring you joy. 

You can’t pour from an empty cup. Remember, your well-being isn’t separate from theirs; it’s intertwined.

Resources for Your Journey:

Remember, you’re not alone in navigating this path. Resources like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI),, and The Jed Foundation offer valuable information and support systems for both individuals and their loved ones.

Being an effective ally isn’t about fixing or controlling their journey; it’s about creating a safe, supportive space for their individual growth. Offer your presence, understanding, and practical support, and you’ll become a valuable source of strength and encouragement on their path to healing. 

Empowered Therapy is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and trauma informed care for individuals and couples in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Learn more about our therapists and
specialties here. 

Follow the link below if you’re ready to start therapy and get back to you.