If you’re a teenager struggling with depression, mental health issues, or anything that you’d just like to get advice about, you might feel like therapy can help. But where do you start? Who do you ask? Where do you find a therapist?
It can be nerve-wracking to tell your parents that you want to see a counselor. But it shouldn’t be! Seeking out in-person or online therapy for teens is a wonderful step to take for your health and wellness. Here are some tips to make that step easier.
First, Ask Yourself a Couple Questions.
Why are you nervous about asking your parent(s) if you can start counseling?
Many teens are afraid that if they tell their parent, they’ll want to know every little detail so the parent can ‘solve’ the problem. If this is the case for you, try telling your parent(s) that you’re trying to solve some of your current challenges independently and would like an outside perspective.
Do you think your parent will look down on you?
Some teenagers know that their parents believe online therapy for teens is for “sick” or “crazy” people. If your parent has a belief similar to this, it makes sense to let them know that you’re sorting through some personal/social issues that need an objective adult’s viewpoint. This has nothing to do with some scary diagnosis or crazy thoughts.
Tips to Start the Conversation
1. Set a time with your parent to have the discussion. Find a time that allows for few distractions and a lot of privacy.
2. Be sure no one has had any alcohol or drugs at the time of the conversation. Some parents may have a glass of wine with dinner or you may think a few puffs of marijuana will make it easier. This conversation requires a sober approach.
3. Let your parent know you wish to talk with an adult about some things you have going on, and that you want this person to be completely objective to your situation. In other words, you’d like the help of an adult/counselor doesn’t love you like your parent(s) do and will be able to guide you with basic, non-influenced decision-making in a way that family members generally cannot. This should help let their guard down if it happens to go up.
4. Assuming you’re not in danger, reassure your parent(s) that you’re not in danger and that you just need some support from a professional.
5. Search for “youth counseling near me,” and choose one you like ahead of time (you can find many of us online. If your parent has questions that they’d like to ask the therapist, many therapists will be happy to sit down with them before therapy starts.
6. If your parent does not respond well, end the discussion for the night. A fight is not necessary. Some statements that might help you:
- “I need additional support from another adult.”
- “You did nothing wrong as my parent. I just need to learn how to get through this on my own.”
- “I need a space that allows me to discuss private things.”
In-person and online therapy for teens is quite common, especially with issues like bullying, gun safety, gender identity and more on the table. For the sake of your mental health and wellness, stay strong and get the help you need.