Persuading someone to speak to their GP

People are much more likely to speak to a doctor if it is about a matter that worries them rather than something that worries you.

Think about the words you will use and how they might be interpreted. Are there any subjects that have caused arguments in the past? Are there any particular words that seem to get the person angry or upset?

Also think about the best time to bring this up. Should it wait until a better time?

If you are unsuccessful the first time – be persistent! People change their minds, and moods, over time.


Problem Bad Example Alternative
“Shoulds and musts” You should go to see the doctor. I am concerned that -----. Have you considered talking to a doctor?
Mixing positive and negative statements You are doing well today, but why don’t you listen to me? You are doing well today.
Speaking for others - “We” statements We are concerned that you have seemed down recently. I am concerned that you have seemed down recently
Mind reading You’ve been very angry recently. It has seemed as though you’ve been angry recently, is that the case?
Criticism You never do what I ask you to! Why do you not want to see the doctor?
Dwelling on the past You’re not helping out at all, just like two weeks ago and that time we spoke about last month. I’m disappointed that you have decided not to speak to the doctor. Will you reconsider?
Overgeneralisations You never think about how I’m feeling. I feel as though you are not seeing my point of view.
Arguing about delusions
(if applicable)
There is no reason whatsoever to be worried about the doctor trying to harm you. Why do you think the doctor would want to hurt you? What makes you think that?
Bringing up multiple problems You stay in bed all day, don’t do anything around the house and you lash out when I try to talk to you. I’m concerned that you stay in bed all day. Do you feel tired?
Has something been worrying you recently?
Giving inconsistent verbal and non-verbal signals It’s okay with me if you don’t want to talk to the doctor (while sighing and rolling eyes) I would like it if you spoke to the doctor about how you are feeling.

Need more advice?

If you need more advice or information you can contact our Advice and Information Service.