NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tips For Overcoming Your Fear of Asking for Help

In the prior blog articles, I discussed why people are often afraid to ask for help and the consequences of either procrastinating with asking for help or not asking for help at all.  In this blog article, I'd like to offer some tips on overcoming your fear of asking for help.

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help

As I've mentioned before, shame is a major issue for people who are afraid to ask for help.  Usually, the shame originates from early childhood issues.  

Unfortunately, many children are made to feel ashamed when they ask their parents for help.  This is often unintentional on the parents' part.  The parents might feel overwhelmed or there might be many other reasons why they respond in a way that makes their children feel ashamed.  But the result is that the children grow up to feel ashamed and not entitled to ask for help.

Tips for Overcoming Your Fear of Asking For Help
Change isn't always easy, but you can try these simple tips to try to overcome your fear of asking for help.
  • Recognize that Loved Ones Often Want to Help You: Your loved ones usually feel better if they can contribute to your well-being in some way.  By allowing others to help you, you allow the barriers between you to start coming down.  Rather than seeming aloof, you seem more approachable to your loved ones.
  • Develop an Awareness of Distortions in Your Thinking: You might fear that others will try to manipulate and control you if you allow them to help you, but it's important to step back and really reflect on your thinking.  While this might be true for some people, in my opinion, it's not true for most people.  The important thing in trying to decide whom you can trust is developing good judgment with regard to the people you choose to help you.  Similarly, if you feel like you're going to burden others by asking for help, think about the times when others have asked you for help. Assuming you were able to help, didn't it make you feel good to help someone close to you?  Why would you think that a loved one wouldn't feel the same way towards you.
  • Develop Reciprocal Relationships That Involve a Healthy Give and Take: Ultimately, one-sided relationships don't work.  If you're the only one doing the giving and the other person is doing all the taking, it's not going to work.  Healthy relationships involve both give and take on both sides.
  • Start Small, If You Can: If it's possible, start by asking for help with a problem that's manageable rather than a big problem. Learning to accept help with smaller issues can help you to develop greater ease to ask for help with larger issues.
  • Don't Procrastinate:  Ask For Help Before the Problem Gets Too Big:  Problems are often easier to solve before they become too big.  By the same token, it's usually easier to ask for help with a problem before it mushrooms into a much larger issue.

Get Help From a Licensed Mental Health Professional
For many people, the fear of asking for help is so ingrained that the tips I've provided above aren't helpful.  They just can't get over their fear.  When fear and shame are so overwhelming that you can't overcome them on your own, you could benefit from getting help from a licensed mental health professional, especially if fear of asking for help has been a lifelong issue.

In my experience as a psychotherapist, I've found that clinical hypnosis and Somatic Experiencing are often helpful to deal with the underlying trauma that is part of this fear and shame to ask for help.  While there are no quick fixes for trauma, I have found that both of these treatment modalities can be effective.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  

I work with individual adults and couples.  I've worked with many psychotherapy clients to help them overcome trauma so they can lead fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.