How can I convince my parent to see a therapist?



My dad has tremendous anxiety. He takes xanax (prescribed) and also drinks, which she says “calms him down.” Several doctors, including one very recently, told him to see a therapist. His anxiety is affecting his physical health. And I worry that the xanax and alcohol use are only making it worse because he won’t talk to anyone about anything thats bothering him, he just sits around all day complaining about how anxious he is. I feel selfish and awful that I’ve been where he’s been and yet I can’t show him compassion and empathy because it just makes me feel anxious. His anxiety fills the air around him and I keep absorbing it. I’ve tried talking to him, relating to him, given suggestions, etc.

I can’t seem to take my own advice on this matter and I just don’t know. Is there anything I can do? Or do I need to just leave it be and work on my own stuff?


I’m sorry to hear this, @jg12. I know it’s tough to watch our loved ones struggle and relationships with parents can be specifically difficult. I don’t have any advice for you, but I can tell you a bit about what worked for me when it was my husband was reluctant to go to therapy. Eventually, I stopped urging him to go and went myself. I think this was helpful in a couple ways. Most importantly, I had an outlet to process my experiences and was able to let go of the need to try to control his behaviors. It also modeled the experience for him. I shared what it was like with him and I think that helped to allay some of his fears about it and within a few months of working with Village and in therapy, he started seeing someone of his own. Also, I did some of the upfront work for him so that when he was ready, the information was there for him. I made a list of therapists that accepted our insurance in our area and had that handy so when he was ready, we were able to make an appt right away. He didn’t have the ability to do this kind of thing on his own when he was struggling so it was really helpful. It was important that I understood though that putting together this list wouldn’t insure that he would go, but rather I’d be ready if and when he was ready. Managing our own expectations is key I think.

Sending love.


Thank you for sharing that. You’re probably most definitely right that I have to manage my expectations. I’ve done therapy, both successfully and unsuccessfully. I’ve shared my experiences with my dad. It usually just makes him sad and then he tries to comfort me and say that he’s gonna be okay and not to worry. But always with no actions taken. I see a lot of myself in the way he is which maybe is why I try to push him. Most recently a doctor told him to see a therapist and he finally agreed to letting me assemble the list of possible therapists. That was a few weeks ago and every now and again I ask if he’s going to call. He’s losing his memory and he jokes about Alzheimer’s and so I worry so much more that he’s running out of time to actually be helped.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I think I’ll try to work on letting him become ready.


I found this podcast super helpful to think about this issue:


Thats the podcast that brought me to wethevillage in the first place! Thanks though, I appreciate your suggestion.