Introducing Your Teen to Therapy
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September 1, 2019

Introducing Your Teen to Therapy

Therapy may not be an easy sell to your teen due to its unknown nature and stigma. On the other hand, it may be quite simple, as they may be yearning to speak with someone. Whatever the case, coming to therapy can be scary, no matter your age. This is why we encourage parents to be patient, supportive, and open with your teens, just as we want our teens to be open to the process.

Before introducing therapy to your teen, it may be best to first understand what your hopes and goals are for your teen in therapy.  Educating yourself on what therapy can entail, and researching possible therapists to get an idea of what you and your teen can expect, might be beneficial for when you talk with your teen. These things might make it easier to answer any questions your teen could have about therapy.

It is best to be open and honest with your teen about your concerns and consideration of therapy. If your teen asks a question you cannot answer, reassure your teen that you will find out for them.

There are things you can do that could make the idea of therapy less scary and your teen more open to it. There are also things you can do that could influence your teens’ willingness to consider therapy. Below are some tips.

When introducing therapy to your teen DON’T:

  • Use therapy as a punishment
  • Place blame on your teen for needing extra support
  • Tell your teen they are the problem and why they have to get help
  • Shame your teen for struggling
  • Make an appointment without their knowledge

When introducing therapy to your teen DO:

  • Explain your concerns in a non-blaming/nonjudgmental way and how having an extra person to support them can help
  • Express to your teen your realistic goals and hopes for them in therapy
  • Let your teen know that you found some potential therapists and you can research together to find the person your teen is most comfortable with
  • Reassure your teen that you will respect the level of involvement that your teens wants from you in this process
  • Reassure your teen that therapy provides them with a safe place to express themselves and they will not be punished for being open and honest, and that you will respect their privacy and confidentiality
  • Provide your teen a sense of empowerment in this journey by encouraging them to set the stage for therapy, and decide on the time, the day of the week, and the frequency of meetings.
  • After the appointment, let your teen know you would like to talk to them about their how they felt the appointment was, if they want to talk to you about it
  • Be willing to enter therapy yourself or as a family to show your teen that it is ok to get extra support

It can take time to get comfortable with the idea of therapy. This is where patience may be needed. Allow your teen to research on their own and be there to supportive, guide, and answer questions. If your teen is still not coming around after some time, set a time frame for them to choose a therapist and appointment time—that is if they wants to choose for themselves.  If your teen has a good relationship with another professional, such as their doctor, school social worker, pastor, etc. they may be able to recommend therapy to your teen, which may then lessen their struggle in talking with someone.

If you have additional questions or need extra support, please feel free to contact us at If you felt this information was helpful, you can find even more free resources and information on our website! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!