How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy: 5 Easy Tips
The American Psychological Association (2021) explains that therapy can be utilized to help people of all ages live happier, healthier, and overall more productive lives. This can occur by learning how to implement more effective daily habits while referring to a budding “tool-box” of positive coping mechanisms. After an initial therapy session, a mental health professional will work with you, or you and your family, to create a client-centered treatment plan that utilizes goal-setting strategies to address the problem/s you’re experiencing. While reading this article, you may receive the clarity and confirmation to start therapy; decide that you and your family could benefit from entering therapy together; or even feel more informed about looking into therapy as an available option in the future: all being productive steps forward.
If you’re thinking about seeking therapy for the first time but are struggling to find the right way to talk to your parents about taking the next step, rest assured that many teens feel similarly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.1% of children in the United States between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis; 3.2% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 1.9 million) have a depression diagnosis (2021). It may be a relief to know that many children and teenagers experience difficulties with their mental health; equally as relieving is the fact that there is no wrong way to start the conversation about seeking therapy. The way you decide to start the conversation is the right way.
Yes, some teens find it easier to open up to their families about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences than others do, but the way you choose to talk about your mental health is your choice alone and totally valid. You deserve to be heard. You deserve to feel safe. Once you start taking steps towards starting a conversation about your mental health, you may find it’s a lot less scary than you initially thought!
As teens everywhere look to navigate the conversation about mental health with a parent or guardian, it’s important to remember that each conversation will look and feel different than the next. It’s true that some of these conversations will flow more smoothly than others: a healthy family dynamic and style of communication can aid in promoting feelings of security and acceptance for a teenager. Still, regardless of your family’s preferred communication style, you deserve to be heard and supported.
If at any time while navigating your mental health journey you feel pressured to “explain yourself,” or to disclose any personal experiences that you’re not comfortable with, remember that only you possess the power to decide the amount of information shared. While you continue exploring the journey to improved mental health and/or starting therapy, it’s helpful to have a trusted friend or adult you can turn to along the way.
Asking for Help
Let’s take a look at a few quick tips for teens looking to start the mental health conversation or to tell their parents they need therapy:
Consider Your Motivation for Therapy
Before you bring up the topic of therapy to your parent and/or guardian, you may want to do some research about mental health and the many forms of therapy services offered. There are countless great resources available to you and many empowering stories about the therapeutic experience. Informing and educating yourself with some of the symptoms you’re experiencing could lessen any fears you have about mental health and/or seeking therapy as well.
Have Fun with Family, Friends, and Pets
The mental health symptoms you’re experiencing may feel pretty heavy to carry around, even a bit frustrating or confusing at times. You may find it helpful to surround yourself with people, places, and things that bring you joy. If feasible, try and have some fun and let loose. If there’s a positive activity you love doing or safe place you enjoy going, try and fit it into your schedule. A walk in the park with your dog, quick game of ball on the court, or relaxed movie night at home may be a good way to unload some of the stress you’ve had to carry around lately.
Engage in Self-Care
Similar to the tip above, engaging in self-care practices can help you relax and remain present with yourself; in doing so, you may feel calmer, less distracted, and more focused. You can try taking a warm bubble bath, cooking a new recipe, exercising, or diving into the many forms creative expression (e.g., listening to music, drawing, sculpting, photography, or poetry). By engaging in self-love practices, you may feel clearer and less consumed about how the conversation with your parents will go. The impending chat may even start to feel like a much easier task and less like the monster under the bed.
Find a Neutral Spot to Chat
So after doing a little research about mental health, engaging in a few fun activities, and having some time to reflect, you’re ready to talk to your parents. You’ll want to start the conversation about therapy in a neutral spot; whether that location is inside of your home—lounging on your comfy couch, or at your favorite restaurant, park, or grocery store, you’ll want to feel relaxed and safe. You may not know the exact spot until you’re there with your family which is also okay! By starting the conversation in a middle-of-the-road, easygoing environment, you’ll feel more apt to express yourself freely. You got this!
Reflect, Journal, Meditate
After you’ve spoken to your parents about needing therapy, you’re probably feeling a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders. Now is a good time to self-reflect. Consider writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal or meditating for 15-20 minutes. Finding ways to release the tension stored inside your mind and body will feel refreshing and empowering. The hardest part is over—pat yourself on the back!—now you can wholly begin your journey to an improved state of mental health: a happier and healthier you.
*Remember: if you or someone close to you is in crisis or may be in danger please do not hesitate to reach out for help:
Emergency: Call 911 immediately
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
Crisis Text Line: Text “DESERVE” to 741-741
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONTCUT (1-800-366-8288)
American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line: 1-800-622-2255
GLBT Hotline: 1-888-843-4564
National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia: 1-800-233-4357
American Psychological Association. (2021). Therapy American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, March 22). Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, trauma, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, alcholism, or other mental health issues, New Dimensions can help. Our Internet Based Intensive Online Treatment Programs are open to anyone who resides within the State of Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Arlington, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Plano, Lubbock, Irving, Garland, Amarillo, Grand Prairie, McKinney, Frisco, Pasadena, Odessa, Midland, Beaumont, Huntsville, Waco, Abilene, and College Station. To learn more about our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and Houston or to schedule an assessment, contact us at 1-800-685-9796. You can also visit our website at www.nddtreatment.com.
How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy: 5 Easy Tips
21 July, 2021