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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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How do you get someone psychological help who needs it but

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How do you get someone psychological help who needs it but refuses help? My dad started collecting dogs and was up to 40 and police had to intervene, he is having problems with relationships(sisters, kids, friends, nieces, ect.) because he has episodes of rage, he won't listen to the courts and they have ordered evaluations but he won't follow the recommendations, he thinks it's all a joke and there is nothing wrong..any sugggestions? I am afraid he is going to push everyone away. He is a 70 year old man.
Chat Conversation Started
Sarah : Hi there, are you ready to chat?
Sarah : it s very difficult to encourage someone who doesn't feel that they need therapy to have some, as you are finding.
Sarah : Hi

yes it is, he gets very defensive and than disappears out of your life for awhile. we haven't spoken for almost a year and one day he shows up

Sarah : Oh dear, that's hard.

and things are going ok with us but he just now had a huge fight with his sister and doesn't "want to speak to her ever again".

Sarah : Would he ever accept that sometimes there are difficulties, because then maybe you could 'sell it' to him that someone can help him to change x y or z rather than saying that he needs therapy?
Sarah : for example, would he accept that his anger causes him problems?

maybe..I could try that

Sarah : Sometimes we end up getting what we fear in this world becaaue we change our behaviour to avoid what we fear, but thenwe get what it is that we fear in the end.

I have heard that before:) so you are saying he is trying so hard to avoid therapy because he is afraid of it?

Sarah : Not sure if that's very clear - for example, your dad might be very aggressive with people because he is afraid that he will lose them, but then his behaviour actually brings about what he fears because he frightens them away.

I think he also is afraid of not being in control.

Sarah : That could be very true and possibly why he runs away things get too out of control for him.
Sarah : I think you may be right about therapy too, he may be afraid of what he may find in himself.

I see. Because he does this with people that he is very close to.

Sarah : Has he lost someone very dear to him in the past?

Well, he had an abusive / alcholic father and he was taken out of the home as a teenager even though he didn't want to go. My mom left him ten years ago and he didn't understand why , it was kinda out of the blue after 19 years of marraige. His first wife aborted their baby against his wishes. He has been through some really hard things.


I know he took the death of his mother very hard also as they were really close.

Sarah : That would explain many things to me - it sounds like he wants to be close, but that perhaps he has a a real fear that if he gets too close, then that person I'll be taken away from him through one means or another.
Sarah : That should say that person will ...

so what can i do to reassure him that that won't happen?

Sarah : He has suffered greatly as you say, he was moved out, his mom left, his wife dies - they are all about loss.
Sarah : The thing is, when these things happen, we sometimes get a strong belief lodged in the subconscious mind that is very powerful


Sarah : and overrides the rationality of our conscious mind.
Sarah : So even though you can talk to his conscious mind and say that you won't leave him, his subconscious beleifs will be too strong for him to genuinely absorb this.

what can I do?

Sarah : If you had his consent, i would be suggesting that he sees an EMDR therapist who would help him to explore his subconscious mind and the beliefs that lie within there,
Sarah : And he would be helped to process them away so that he doesn't carry the anger and the upset from the past.

what does emdr stand for?

Sarah : When he is upset with someone in the current day,
Sarah : He isn't really angry with them, he is struggling with emotions from the past that are resurfacing.
Sarah : EMDR is eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing.
Sarah : When we normally process away stress from wveyday lire, we do it during REM sleep at night
Sarah : That's rapid eye movement sleep, when wwe are deeply asleep.
Sarah : However, when the emotion is too strong, the brain cannot process it and we tend to suffer broken sleep and
Sarah : Horrid dreams.
Sarah : EMDR simulates this natural process and processes away the 'baggage' from the past - the anger, the hurt, the guilt, etc.etc.etc
Sarah : Sorry for typos along the way, my compute makes it's own words up sometimes.

like I said though, he is very against getting help. So I wouldn't even know how to get him to agree to that. That's ok about the typos.

Sarah : Your dad probably has a lot of hurt within himself because his losses had few answers.
Sarah : You could get him to talkl about his feelings - would he go there?

? I can try:)

Sarah : People often use humour to deflect the attention away from themselves but it hides a lot beneath.
Sarah : Maybe he collects dogs because they give unconditional love, and he could be trying to replace the love that he feels he has lost.

yes. do you think he is having a problem "collecting" dogs because he is using the dogs as a way to replace the lost relationships?

Sarah : But he probably wouldn't recognise this, so although it may sound very sad for him, he would probably deny that on a conscious level.

oh for funny:) you already answered my question:)

Sarah : We are on the same wave length here I think. You are very insightful.

thank you.

Sarah : You say that you are afraid he will push everyone away - this is what his subconscious mind is hoping for, because the role of the subconscious mind is to protect us,

It is sad to see him want to push people away.

Sarah : So if it thinks (subconsciously remember) he will get hurt by getting close, then it will use every thing in it's power (anger?) to push people away.
Sarah : It's important to know that he isn't choosing to push people away, his subconscious mind is doing it for im if you like, in order to protect him.

he also tries to help everyone all the money away, buying people things, people he only knew for two years he bought them a trailer, cars, and it's not like he has a lot of money.

Sarah : He is probably thinking, after losing his temper, what did I do that for? I didn't mean to get so angry. But the anger is from the past and is being triggered by everyday stuff.
Sarah : Then he is a lovely man and this is e real dad that you have, not the part whose being dictated to by his subconscious, which is just hurt and afraid. Does that make sense?

and he also has grandious things going on thinking he is getting 200 billion dollars...or that he is a secret agent for the cia... yes, it does make sence because he was a wonderful father..and he isn't always acting this way and when he is not he a very kind person that wants to help and save everyone/ people/ dogs/ ect

Sarah : Many many people are being influenced by their subconscious mind because we react to the hurts that we have in life.

I can see that. I am sure we all do it at times.

Sarah : If he won't seek help for himself, then I think it would be useful for you to digest some of this from his perspective and keep telling him things that would contradict what he may have in his subconscious mind - if he is truly listening, it might be useful. Aree you eveer around when he is asleep?

no but I have heard from others that he has some really irregular sleep patterns and is up at night a lot


sometimes walks around in the dark outside

Sarah : I ask that because the subconscious mind never sleeps and you could tell him whilst he sleeps that you love him very much, that you aren't going to leave him and that you understand his sadness. You would have to weigh this up for yourself if you felt it was right to do this without his consent - but your intentions are totally good and to make him feel better.
Sarah : It makes sense that his sleep is poor because his mind is probably going back thorugh some of the hurt and being unable to process it away. Could you ask him if he would like to be sleeping better and get him to therapy that way?

that is really neat...

Sarah : EMDR asks for the client to go through memories in their mind, so they don't have to talk about it out loud,

i will ask him:) I will try anything:) I just hope he doesn't get mad at me!

Sarah : They allow their subconscious mind to trawl through the hurting stuff and they pull in other memories to help process it away.

that is really neat

Sarah : You could broach it by saying, dad, I know you may feel like getting mad at me, but I am saying this because i worry about you and because I would like to see you more contented ....
Sarah : You can find more information about emdr at and also therapists local to you.
Sarah : The brain is a magnificent thing and we don't use most of it.


Sarah : Theere are neve any guarantees in any therapy, but the results with this can be amazing.

i will look into it..and thank you:)

Sarah : There is also the possibility that your dad is functioning in a child mode, as opposed to an adult mode, which is then getting into the theories of transactional analysis. Maybe when he takes an adult role, it becomes very sad, so he prefers to stay in child mode where things are funny and can be laughed away.

That actually sounds a LOT like him.

Sarah : When the courts tell him off and tell him he must do things, they are taking the parent, discipline mode and this might swing him in to the child mode instead of the adult mode.

That makes sence.

Sarah : In order to reach the adult, you need him to see you in the adult mode, so when he is angry, don't respond in an aggressive, angry way, take the adult mode and say dad, I can't talk to you when you are in this mode, so when you have calmed down, let me know and w can continue.
Sarah : Then he will calm down without the interaction becoming you as parent and him as child.

So talk to him like I would talk to my kids:)

Sarah : Yes, but not in an authoritative mode, because he will take the child mode - talk as one to one, adult to adult,
Sarah : This may be how you talk to your children and that's brilliant

basically keep my own cool so as not to make the situation worse.


how do i pay for this session?

Sarah : If he gets all disciplinary with you, he's taking the parental role, so you could automatically take the child role - stay in adult mode by standing back and commenting on the situation rather than getting involved with the nitty gritty.
Sarah : Yes, keep your cool, don't let him draw you in.
Sarah : You can press the accept button if you feel my answers have been valuable


Sarah : You can send me a bonus if you feel that I deserve one
Sarah : And you can leave me some feedback somehow if you would like to ...

ok:) thank you so much!



Sarah : I'm not sure what the buttons say as I haven't posted a question but I think it should be straight forward Asa you work through it.

do you think that his age could mean there is a possibility of alzhiemers?

Sarah : You are very veery welcome, I wish you all the luck I can for your dad,
Sarah : Alzeimers is link with memory issues, does he forget stuff?


Sarah : If it's only sometimes, it could be linked to old age rather than illness. I think you would know if it was more than that because he might be doing odd things and saying odd things and getting muddled and confused. If you are worried, you could always check out an alzheimers support group on line who could list the symptoms for you.

sometimes he will go to town and talk to someone and forget he has seen them. or will misplace things(but i think we all do that) or forget things like where he put his keys or what he is supposed to do and can get some things confused like what needs to be done for court (but i don't know if that is on purpose)


ok i will check those things out...thank you so much and i will leave you a bonus:) thank you for talking with me.

Sarah : He can help himself by having specific places to put things (I had to have a specific shelf for my car keys right by the door, otherwise ether can be anywhere!!!) so the routine will help him out. I have little experience in the first sign sof this, so I would check out a specialist website if I were you. I don't think it sounds serious
Sarah : Many thanks, ***** ***** great. I am going to bed now, it is late here, but I have enjoyed our conversation, take care of yourself, Sarah

ok thank you

Sarah and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Having walked away from the computer, my subconscious mind is telling me to tell you that you could use the phrase, 'you can try and push me away dad, but I'm not going. Even if you get angry with me, you won't push me away because I care about you.' this is in complete contrast with his subconscious beliefs and should give him something to think about consciously. (why has she said that? What does she know that I don't? type of thing.) My dad used to shout at us a lot when we were little because that's how he dealt with his anger - I used to shout back to defend myself and it just escalated. In my late 30's when he was cross, I gave him a cuddle and said dad please don't shout at me, I don't like it. He has never done it since. I find that amazing. Hope this helps!