Dear Dr. Romance :

I'm getting worried because my husband is drinking more, and laughing less. He works too much, he has lost interest in his guy friends and sports. He's gotten more tense, and is on edge and irritable. Sometimes he even yells at me and the kids. I think maybe he needs professional help. What can I do? How can I get my husband into therapy?

Dear Reader:

Your husband or may believe that therapy is for the weak, and he was probably taught to be tough, self-reliant and never ask for help. Men are often reluctant to seek therapy. I recommend a progression of things to try to get him to go for counseling.

Sometimes an ultimatum works: "You get six sessions of therapy or I'm getting a divorce." But there are also other ways to encourage your partner to get therapy. You know him best. Think about what has worked most successfully in the past when you wanted him to do something he didn't want to do. How do you influence him? Plant the seed and nurture it. Be prepared to give him some time to get comfortable with the idea. Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences has many helpful exercises to help you communicate better with him.

See if you can suggest to your husband's doctor to prescribe therapy.  Internists, family doctors and even urologists are now trained to assess emotional disorders and to make referrals to therapists.  If asking your husband directly to get therapy doesn't work, make a doctor's appointment for him and talk to the doctor beforehand, asking him to prescribe therapy.  This works with many men.

If you go to church as a couple, ask for a couple session with your priest, minister or advisor, and tell spiritual counselor in advance that you think your husband needs to see a therapist.

If your husband likes to read online, "Anger: Cleansing Squall or Hurricane?" and "Anger Management" may help him understand himself better.

If none of this works, ask him to go to a therapy session with you. Say you’re unhappy, and you need his help.  When you get there, tell the therapist you're unhappy because your husband seems so unhappy.  Be willing to help him with it and cooperate with what the therapist recommends. "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find an appropriate therapist or counselor.

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.