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How to convince someone you love to see a doctor

If you have ever had a close friend, family member, or partner who avoids the doctor, when they clearly need to see someone, you probably know the mix of concern and frustration the situation can create.

"Convincing another adult … caring for yourself can be more difficult than you might expect," said psychologist Nancy Burgoyne, clinical chief physician and vice president of Clinical Services in The Family Institute at Northwestern University tells SELF. You can not draw her to the doctor, who kicks and screams as you can with a child who hates visits to a pediatrician.

Whether your beloved person has neglected a chronic illness ignored alarming symptoms, or simply had not had his annual investigation in ten years, here are some clues for the approach to the Conversation.

. 1 Do not try to blame them.

Avoid saying something like, "You are selfish and make your whole family suffer" or "If you do not go to the doctor, I swear to you that you give." I am a ulcer . "

" This is probably the biggest mistake, "says Andrew Roffman, LCSW, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and head of the family studies program at NYU's Langone Child Study Center, to SELF.

Guilt is not a good motivator, explains Burgoyne. Probably the person will only feel defensive. And as Roffman points out, your relationship can pay a price even if it insults someone so he goes to the doctor.

. 2 Also, do not check.

It's okay to be stubborn and persistent, trying to control your loved one's behavior with ultimatums or threats. "I'll take you to the doctor tomorrow," "I will not hang up. If you do not see anyone this week, they'll go out with you. "- will likely go backwards," says Roffman.

This is another time, when they dig their heels out of sheer opposition, Burgoyne explains, "What they're defending against. This case is not so much the help, it's the Feeling controlled. "

. 3 Instead, remember how much they mean to you.

Although you seem to come from a place of love, it is really important to use this as a framework for talking. "What you are really putting here is the relationship you have with the person, and you want to confirm that first," says Roffman.

The way you phrase this statement, of course, depends on the nature of your relationship. Roffman recommends something like, "You know how much I care about you and how much our relationship means to me. So I wanted to say a few things that I thought about. "

. 4 Use non-judgmental "me" statements.

You may have heard that it is better to use "I" statements during an emotional exchange instead of "you" statements. This definitely applies here. I-statements help you to avoid being critical and emphasize that you do not judge your loved one.

Roffman says the general message should be, "I'm worried about you and your well-being. and I think a doctor's visit would help you take care of your health. "Translation: Do not say anything that could be interpreted as:" What's wrong with you, and here's a long list of how you fail to go to the doctor. "

. 5 Tell them it's okay to be nervous.

Sometimes people refuse to go from sheer fear says Burgoyne. Perhaps they are afraid of receiving bad news or being told that they need to make significant lifestyle changes.
At the same time, they may be embarrassed to admit that they are scared or nervous.

If you believe this could be the case, tell your relative that his worries are not unusual. "Normalizing these types of anxiety and confirming the person's feelings can be helpful to some people," says Roffman. Try something like, "I understand that the thought of going to the doctor may make you nervous. I think a lot of people feel that way. "

. 6 Talk about the good things that can happen when you go to the doctor, not about the bad ones that could happen if they do not.

It might be tempting to cause a catastrophe to frighten your loved one. ("You will have a stroke if you do not have the high blood pressure checked!"). But fearfulness with bad predictions is cruel and ineffective. It's likely to only increase the person's anxiety and even less likely to seek help, says Roffman.

Focusing on the benefits of a doctor's visit is a better strategy. Instead of "If you do not, you'll get this disease," try, "If you do, you'll feel better and enjoy life more," says Roffman. Or say something like "It is very likely that there will be a way to be treated [insert their symptoms or health conditions here] and that you will feel better."

. 7 Suggest to help with logistical barriers associated with medical appointments.

For someone who is already reluctant to go to the doctor, logistical harassment such as finding a provider, working out the insurance and getting an old doctor's records can seem like daunting obstacles.

Ask if your lover wants to help with such a thing by saying, "If you want, I can find someone on the network for you." and do everything OK without it, says Roffman. And if they reject your offer, do not insist. At the end of the day, her health is her responsibility no matter how much you love her.

. 8 If you have had bad experiences with doctors, help them to find a good one.

In some cases, the person's anxiety may be due to previous encounters with physicians. Most doctors look after and want the best for their patients, but in every job there are some bad apples .

While you can not erase bad medical memories for your loved ones, you can confirm their confirmation that it's being repeated and try to make sure it does not happen again. Roffman recommends saying, "I know you've had a bad experience, but no good doctor will treat you that way, and we'll make sure you find a doctor who does not."

Then help them Find a capable and compassionate provider that will hopefully make you feel good. Get referrals from friends and family, says Roffman. If you can not do this (or, frankly, even if you can), check the online reviews. You could also call a practice for your loved one and ask the administrative staff which of his doctors is particularly good.

If your loved one has a particular concern, for example, for being abused for sexual orientation or gender identity, connect them with resources that can help them find a provider who is an ally LGBTQ + , The same is true if they were fatally shamed before the doctor (ask if their prospective physicians are trained according to the principles of [ health at any size ) or if they have any other specific characteristics of hesitation.

If your loved ones have an appointment with a well-behaved doctor but are still nervous, you can offer to accompany them to the appointment if you can, and you think it would help.

9. Do you know when to drop it.

If you push too hard after reaching a dead end, you will not get anywhere, says Roffman (except possibly in a dispute). You also run the risk of making this a sore subject for the person, which will penalize you in future talks.

"It's important to realize that if it's not going well at the moment, turn off [you need to] and turn back at another time when the person is in a more susceptible state," explains Roffman.

If this is a perpetual conversation for you both and you're reluctant to call it back, just ask if it's okay to do so, Burgoyne says, suggesting, "I know I'll tell you a couple of times Or, can I still encourage you? "Or," I know that it can be annoying, but I feel that this is tough and maybe memories will help. "What do you think?"

10. Lead the example Taking care of your own health.

If you want someone to take care of yourself, one of the best things you can do to follow your own advice is to inspire them to take action to take, and they can you Also, do not blame hypocrisy by saying, "Why should I go to the doctor if you do not?"

It also ensures that you are well for the other person. Do you know how you should always put on your oxygen mask first in aircraft before helping others? This is generally a great rule of life and fits in perfectly with this situation. "Take care so that you are not both exhausted," says Burgoyne. "You need to set a safe distance from unhealthy patterns that both of you can capture."


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