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Give an Hour: Helping Veterans Cope with the Psychic Toll of War

At Your Service
Barbara Van Dahlen
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Barbara at the Governor?s 27th Annual Volunteer Awards Ceremony in Maryland with Izzy Patoka, executive director of the Governor?s Office of Community Initiatives (left), and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown.

Often it happens that a friend or family member who needs therapy refuses to go. Rather than nag or pressure the person, you should reach out to a counselor. As your loved one sees you developing a relationship with a counselor, he may take your concern more seriously and, since you've taken the first step, feel safer coming with you or going on his own. If you still meet resistance, your counselor should be able to help you find the right language. "What's most effective is to use loving, hopeful words to state that you see the pain they're in and that you want to help," Barbara Van Dahlen explains. "Say, 'I'm in this with you, and we'll figure it out together.' That's a powerful message for someone who is struggling."

Find Help

  • Give an Hour,
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs,
  • Tricare,
  • American Psychiatric Association,
  • American Psychological Association,
  • National Association of Social Workers,
  • Mental Health America,
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy,
  • State departments of mental health; community mental health centers

Originally published in the November 1, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.