How to Talk to Your Teen About Therapy
A teenager is doing teletherapy. She looks at her laptop and is wearing turquoise headphones.

Has your teen been struggling with their mental health? Are they experiencing moodiness, social struggles, school avoidance, or difficulty concentrating? Your teen does not need to have an official mental health diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Being able to support a teenager before they end up struggling with more complicated issues is a great time to get them into therapy. Conversely, if they are struggling with more serious symptoms like anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, substance use or eating struggles, we can also help!

As a caregiver, it can be scary to know where to start, let alone to try to convince your teen about the importance of therapy. Starting therapy is a big step for the whole family. We know it can feel intimidating to get started. If you are a caregiver, you play a big role in helping your teen understand the benefits of therapy. You can also help them feel comfortable before their first session. This makes it more likely that they will be interested in attending sessions and will make therapy more effective. At Therapy for Women, we aim to support you through this process. Keep reading to learn our best tips.

How to Approach Your Teen About Therapy

Steal our favorite metaphor. You teenager is likely used to going to the doctor when they don’t feel physically well. Similarly, you can explain that therapy is a place they can attend when they do not feel emotionally well. We all need support with our health at different times in our lives. And there is no shame in attending therapy in order to get extra support and tools. Attending therapy does not mean there is anything wrong with your teen. And it is important to tell them this.

Some teenagers may be concerned that you think there is something wrong with them if you suggest therapy. Emphasize that you believe they could use some extra support, just like if we need some extra care of support with school. Remember, therapy is a common and ordinary tool people use. If you have been to therapy before, it can be powerful to share your experience with them. Normalize the experience much like you would going to the doctor.

If you are suggesting this, be honest about the reasons why you feel therapy could be beneficial for them. Have you noticed they have been spending more time alone? Are they trying to avoid going to school? Are they quick to anger and seem irritated by everything and everyone? Is your teen sleeping a lot more or less? All of these can be warning signs that they are struggling with their mental health. Address the reasons you think talking to someone could be helpful. A teen or adolescent ages 10 or above will be more likely to appreciate transparency in the conversation.

A teen is depressed and has their head in their hands sitting on their bed. Teen could benefit from therapy

Addressing Fears and Concerns

It is normal and expected that your teen may have fears or concerns about therapy. Let them know that these fears are normal! Validate their feelings and reassure them that just because they are nervous, does not mean that is it not worth going. Give them more information about their therapist and how you think the first session will go.

You can share where they are going, the therapist’s name, and answer any questions that they may have. Let them know that what they share in therapy is private and confidential. The therapist will only share information with them if necessary. And you are not using therapy to try to get private information about them.

If your teen still seems resistant, or unsure that’s okay, too. It’s normal for them to feel that they don’t need therapy or do not believe that it will help them. Let me know they can start with just one session. It is okay to try it and then you call can determine whether the therapist is the right fit.

Concluding Thoughts

It can feel uncomfortable to talk your teen about going to therapy. However, in order to have them get the support they need, it is important to talk to them. If you approach this conversation honestly, with empathy and compassion, it will alleviate some of their initial fears. Remember, therapy is a valuable resource for teens and can empower them to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and strength.

At Therapy for Women, we specialize in working with teens on a wide variety of issues. From anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, OCD, substance use and more. We would be honored to help!

To learn more about our approach and specialty in therapy for teens, visit our specialty page. If you or your teen are ready to the next step, book an appointment or contact us today!