Q&A Wife Won’t Admit She Needs Therapy


My wife has symptoms of depression and paranoia. She has never been officially diagnosed because she won’t go in to see a therapist. She is high functioning in everyday type activities, but is unable to allow herself to be loved by me or other adults because she doesn’t believe we are sincere in our expressions or actions. She has also pushed friends and family out of her life because she believes they are also not to be trusted. She has no circle of individuals she trusts. How can I help her realize that she needs help when she will not trust me?



I certainly understand your concern. It’s very difficult when someone we love needs help but doesn’t recognize or acknowledge their need.

Over the years, I have worked with many married people who have told me that they saw serious problems in their spouse, fairly early if not immediately in their marriage, but the spouse refused to seek therapy. These are sad stories because things typically don’t get better, they get worse.

What I would like to say to all individuals in such situations is this: “Come into therapy yourself.”

Why? Because if you are living with someone like that, you need help, you need support, and you almost certainly need how to set appropriate emotional boundaries. When the healthy spouse gains a skill set that allows appropriate boundary setting and maintenance—the healthy spouse gets healthier, and becomes a non-victim. In such cases, the problematic partner, because their hurtful behaviors are no longer being accommodated or enabled, may finally decide to seek help. In either event, the healthier partner is in a much safer position.

I encourage you to find a good therapist and specifically focus on improving boundary setting and maintenance skills. Therapy is not just for people who are disturbed. Sometimes, the most quickly effective therapy we can do is with people who are closest to the one who is disturbed.

Best wishes.

Note: I am very close to finishing the first draft of a book on healthy emotional boundaries and the concept of the non-victim Christian. I hope it will be available before too long.