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I want to see a therapist. How do I tell my parents?

246 Answers
Last Updated: 04/24/2022 at 6:07pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Danielle Johnson, MSED, Community mental Health Counseling, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Sometime situations and feelings can be so strong that we struggle to function. You are not alone! My practice is flexible and open-minded and tailored to your personal needs.

Top Rated Answers
March 4th, 2020 11:37am
You should always be open about your mental health to family members because they do love you, and if it’s a budget problem then places such as school and work can provide such assets to you to help you get the help that you need (or even the answers if it’s just simply discussions) Some parents may not be so understanding which may scare individuals to open up about it, but it never hurts to just simply be open about what is on your mind. The worst that could happen is that they would disagree and there are always online sources if it comes down to it as well!
April 5th, 2020 3:49am
Some states will allow you to see a counselor with or without parental consent. Check with your state to find out what laws exist. Overall, I would suggest calmly stating your reasons for seeking counseling if you feel you can share that with your parents. If you are in school, you may be able to get a referral to a counseling program from a guidance counselor, nurse, or another staff member. If you need counseling immediately, many hospitals offer crisis counseling in the emergency room. Again, check your state laws to determine if you need permission for any treatment.
April 12th, 2020 7:34pm
I would sit down with my parents and explain what I have been going through. I would politely ask them if I could see a therapist because I need professional help. During the conversation, I would remain respectful, but firm, and clearly ask to see a therapist. I would want my parents to be on the same page as me. I would hope that they would understand what I am going through and set up an appointment with a therapist. However, if my parents refuse to do so and consider my feelings "invalid", I would go to my school guidance counselor and talk to her about seeking help.
April 25th, 2020 1:28am
sit them down and explain to them what you're currently suffering. Then explain to them that you believe that a therapist might be able to help you with it and you want to try it out. Then ask them to please support your decision because it would mean the world to you to have their support. If they don't believe you try telling you family medicine practicioner and have them talk to your parents. They will listen to a medical professional more often especially if they don't believe in therapy. Remember it can be hard for a parent to hear that their child is struggling but asking for help is the first step in getting better.
May 8th, 2020 9:15am
Talk to them comfortably,tell them the situation, sometimes doing so can help as parents themselves can act as a therapist. Not in all cases do parents work as therapist, but I am sure they will Understand you and will surely plan to take you to a therapist or maybe they will themselves talk to a therapist for you. But for all this to happen you have to tell everything to your parents that why do you want to visit a therapist, what’s going on with you, how are you feeling and how a therapist will work on you and will help you.
May 14th, 2020 7:51am
Talk about the reasons that you want to see a therapist, what is happening with you, explain carefully all that you are feeling and i'm sure they will support you. :) Choose one moment that you feel like it is the right moment to talk about it and simply throw out everything you are feeling, if you are hurt, tell them , just open yourself to them, do not be afraid to ask for help, specially to your parents. They will be always there to help and understand you, whatever it is. Wishing you luck and sending you positive energies.
June 14th, 2020 2:13pm
This topic can be a tough one for many people. Parents want to be the best they can be and they may feel ashamed or guilty when they realize their child has been suffering in some area of their life. Some parents may not be well-educated in mental health, so the conversation may require more explaining to them. Also, some cultures have a more negative stigma to mental health issues than others. Either way, it's important that when you realize that you would benefit from professional help, that you receive the help you need. I've added a few tips below, so feel free to use what may apply to your situation and what might not. 1. Be prepared to answer questions Your parents will most likely want to know why you feel that you need professional help. This most likely comes from a place of concern or confusion, as your condition might not be obvious to them. If you have a hard time talking about the feelings you're going through, you might find it helpful to write it out. 2. Don't place blame Even if your parents are causing you stress, blaming them will most likely create conflict and not get you the help you need. Some parents may blame themselves or tell you, "You should be happy, you have everything you could ever want!" If you find that happening, responding something like, "Yes, I should be happy, but I'm not. And I want to get help so I can fully enjoy my life." This can help them understand that you're not trying to complain about your current situation, you're trying to fix it. 3. Don't do it alone If this is a hard conversation for you to have, don't do it alone. You might find it help to talk with a teacher, school counselor, church member, or your doctor first. They may be able to help you talk with your parents and provide them with the proper resources to get you help. These were just a few small tips, but I hope they help navigate this conversation. Everyone deserves to feel heard and understood. I wish you the best on your mental health journey!
June 25th, 2020 11:15pm
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, the adult/counselor doesn’t love you like your parent(s) do, so they will be able to guide you with basic, non-influenced decision-making in a way that family members generally cannot). Assuming you are not in danger, reassure your parent(s) that you are not in danger and that you just need some support from another person in your life. If your parent does not respond well, it makes sense to end the discussion for the night
July 1st, 2020 7:02pm
I'm glad you are open to the idea of seeing a therapist! The first step in getting help is often acknowleding that you need help or could benefit from it. When it comes to talking to your parents about this, one thing to consider is your own comfort level. I understand that this can be a scary moment in your life, but try to make it easy on yourself! Would talking to them in person be most comfortable for you? If not, would you feel more comfortable speaking to them virtually (over the phone, zoom, etc)? What if you wrote them a letter? It is important that you talk to them about this if it'll help you access the help you need. Just know that there are MANY ways you can communicate with someone - and you are free to chose the option that makes you the most comfortable!
July 12th, 2020 12:11pm
You go to them and tell them you want to talk about something imprtant. It's really scary but it's the best way and it works. They might be confused/angry but at the end of the day, they're your parents. When I told my mom, she didn't say anything but it all got worked out very soon. I'm in a much better place now and you wil be too, very soon. It's scary, very scary but once you tell them, it helps a lot. trust me on this. One day, you might look back and you'll know you did theright thing
July 16th, 2020 4:19am
I would tell my parents by sitting them down and explaining to them what causes me to feel down or worried. I would show them how I feel in order to try to get their understanding and support. In order to get myself there, I would accept that it is okay to seek for help from a therapist and that a therapist could help me with learning and dealing with it daily. This way my parents will know that I am serious about seeing a therapist for serious help and to improve the quality of my day and life as a whole.
July 16th, 2020 11:17pm
Just be honest with your parents! I know it may seem scary, but most parents want what is best for their children, so be honest with them. If is not something your parents are comfortable with, you can always confide in another trusted adult. Therapy is not a bad thing, and many people benefit from having it be a part of their life. In addition to that, There is always a way to find help. It is around every corner. Just tell your parents what is going on and how you feel and they might be more accepting to the idea than you think!
July 18th, 2020 2:00am
I would start off by telling your parents how you're feeling and if you're comfortable why you're feeling the way you are. You should tell them you really think that you would benefit from talking to a neutral party and you just need someone to talk to. There's no shame in asking for help and you're very courageous for seeking help. There will always be some people who don't understand, but that's because they aren't experiencing the same things you are. I don't know your situation, but I hope that your parents are loving and supportive and can get you all the help you need.
July 18th, 2020 9:58pm
Tell them you'd like to talk about something, make sure you have their full attention. Let them know that you feel like its a choice you have made for yourself! They do want what's best for you, and seeing a therapist is a great way to get your journey to healing started. You don't have to explain to your parents what you're going to therapy for, but it is your choice whether you'd like to tell them or not. If you'd like it to stay confidential, it will stay that way. I truly hope your journey starts off well!
July 21st, 2020 11:43pm
I think it's a wonderful idea to see a therapist. Seeing a therapist gives you a chance to flesh out the emotions going through your head and chance for self-improvement and reflection. I understand that from the perspective of the generations of parents, going to therapy can be seen as a stigma. However, if you tell them the reasons that you feel the need to go the therapy (whether it be to get over emotional troubles, self-improvement, etc.) and be fully open to them, they will eventually come to understand. If you do get in touch with a therapist it helps to explain what they do (and the benefits of what they do) to your parents as well. Studies have also shown that familial support can really help patients in therapy.
July 22nd, 2020 6:23am
First tell them before hand that you would like to sit them down and talk to them about something, set a time (and date if needs be). Once you'll seated you can tell them that you would like to see a therapist. Give them a chance to ask questions. They will ask you why and you will respond with your reasoning. Be mindful of your tone and word choices. Try your best to come off as respectful as possible. Respect their final answer for example if they cannot afford one then please be understanding. If they give you an answer you not satisfied with, do not get angry but simply argue your point respectful. If they don't budge then try again another day. (If your parents are known to be violent or short-tempered it would be best to not ask again but rather find an alternative way of seeing a therapist without their financial support).
July 25th, 2020 9:36pm
First you should make sure you know what you’re going to say. Being clear and meaningful is a great first step. Find when your parents are in a calm mood and not at a stressed time. Tell them calmly and be honest. Try to keep your emotions calm and collected to keep the conversation clear. If your parents questions why you need to see one, make sure you think about the true reasons why you need a therapist. Give honest answers and explain that you truly think it will help you. Know that you’re supported no matter what and that you will get through it.
July 30th, 2020 10:33pm
Tell them how you have been feeling then ask them if you can get put in therapy. Sometimes parents understand that their child needs help and they really want you to feel better. So I suggest going up to your mom or dad and tell them how you have been feeling and give them examples of why you think you need to be in therapy. It is a great way to talk to your parents because they listen to you when you have reasoning for why you want or need something. Sometimes you may think your parents won't listen to you but they will.
July 31st, 2020 8:19pm
I'm glad you are taking the initiative to receive help! One of things I recommend doing is taking an online test for any mental health issue you think you might be struggling with. This can help prove your point if you are scared your parents might doubt you, or not believe you. Next, you have to tell them! If you don't want to physically talk to them, try writing a letter or text explaining it. Here's an example of what you can say: "Hey mom and dad, recently I've been struggling with _______. It has really impacted my life, and I want to help myself cope and get through this. Can we talk to a therapist?" It might be wise to talk to your doctor first, to rule out other illnesses. Then, you might be recommended to a psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist!
August 5th, 2020 7:37am
I know some people think therapy is a big deal or should have some weird stigma attached, but it's so common. So many of us see therapists, or manage illness through medication, thank goodness we have these resources and don't have to suffer! Kudos to you for knowing when it's time to seek help. That shows you have a lot of self-awareness. If you had a broken bone, would your parents take you to the hospital? Of course. If you were getting dizzy and fainting every day, and you lost a lot of weight suddenly for no reason, and the school nurse said you needed to get your blood sugar tested and regulated as this was a very serious problem, would your parents take you? Or just let you suffer and pass out every day? They'd get you the help you need. Well, it's the same for mental health. Sometimes, our brains get the mental equivalent of a broken leg. We feel emotional pain and distress that affects our life to an unhealthy degree, and we know we need help. There's nothing "bad" or "wrong" about that, any more than there's anything "bad" about having a broken leg. What's bad is if we neglect it and don't treat it. So, be businesslike. This is not an emotional issue, it's a simple discussion. You can explain: Sometimes in life people of all ages and walks of life struggle with things and it is really helpful to talk them out with an objective professional. It wouldn't make them bad parents if you broke your leg, or if you got the flu, or if you got a poison ivy rash that needed medication. These things HAPPEN to everyone! What's important is whether or not they get you the treatment you need. Your parents might say "We want you to feel comfortable talking to US, why can't you just tell us?" Explain that part of the reason you want to talk to an objective person is to learn how to communicate with them better. Tell them you love them and trust them, but you may sometimes struggle to communicate feelings. They are grown adults with years of experience at this stuff. You're not. You know they want what's best for you, and you feel that a therapist can help you understand that in a way that's easier. It will HELP your relationship, not strain it. Explain that Reassure them. Explain that nothing drastic is going on, you're not in danger of hurting yourself or others, they are great parents and you love them. This isn't about them, and they shouldn't worry. Be businesslike. Explain it as if you were explaining that you had really bad stomach pains that needed attention. You are struggling, it's just that they can't see you physically walking with a limp or doubled over in pain. There is a chance they may say "no". If that's the case, don't freak out. Accept it. Say "I'm sorry you feel that way. I hope you'll reconsider. This doesn't mean I'll be coming to you with my problems - quite the opposite. I feel you're telling me I can't trust you to take care of me when I share a problem with you. I feel hurt and disrespected by this decision. I'm going to my room to think. I'd prefer if you give me space for a while."
August 7th, 2020 1:37pm
Try and think about explaining what's not going well right now, and how seeing a therapist could help. What can a therapist give you that your support system can't? Do you need someone with more knowledge in a certain area? These things may help you communicate your needs better to your parents. If you know there are other factors that may deter them from letting you see a therapist, look into ways to address those - be proactive, and be honest. If it doesn't go well the first time you talk to them, maybe consider doing more research and talking to them again. You got this!
August 14th, 2020 11:31am
First, remember that they are your parents and they want what’s best for you.. pick a calm day and sit them down. Explain to your parents what’s been going on and how it’s been affecting you or those around you. Explain to them how you have tried to deal with the situation Explain to them whether your efforts have gotten you anywhere or not... explain to them why seeing a therapist is important to you And how you came up with the dedication to see one . If your comfortable, you can ask them to join you for the sessions. I hope this helps
September 4th, 2020 3:41pm
If you are not of age to see a therapist without parental consent, you should have a serious, mature conversation about this with them. Honesty is always the best approach. If they are skeptic, make them understand that you want to seek professional help, that you know it would help you immensely. You know what is best for you when it comes to these feelings. Some parents may feel guilty they are not helpful enough, so reassure them that they have done enough. They simply aren't trained professionals, and you would feel better about yourself if you knew you had this possibility.
September 5th, 2020 3:37pm
I haven't walked a day in your shoes, so I will answer this to the best of my ability to do so. When I first talked to my parents about therapy, I did it later at night for a couple of reasons. One, there would be time to discuss things without any interruptions and two, if I needed to stop the conversation it would have been easier to do so. I would highly recommend googling "therapy benefits" or "reasons to go to therapy" to provide context to your conversation. Also, if you have any friends that currently go to therapy it could be a good idea for you to ask advice from them. Hope that this helped!
September 9th, 2020 1:07pm
It’s really great of you to have decided that you want to see a therapist! You know your parents best, so try to step into their shoes. How would they like being told that, with you still feeling comfortable telling them. And how would they rather not hear it? By thoughtfully telling them and having a real heart to heart conversation, they will see how much you want/need this and your parents love you and they want the best for you and I am sure that they will support you with this. I wish you the best of luck! x
September 12th, 2020 8:12pm
You can be honest of how you are feeling or what you are facing. Most importantly tell them you need help to deal with the (those) issue(s). You can explain why you have considered seeing a therapist and what have you already tried that has worked/not worked. It was hard to say how your parents would react, in some cultures therapy or seeking any kind of help outside the home is not seen good. You can find support from a friend or a close relative. I hope you parents are supportive, you have the right to seek help!
September 23rd, 2020 12:15am
Tell them you're going through some things and that it would be nice to get a professional opinion on how to handle it. If they try to ask what specifically is the problem, give them the most basic answer and tell them you'd like to talk in depth with someone else. It will probably be pretty difficult, depending on how your parents believe you're doing versus how you actually feel. But I think it's a good idea to give it a shot. Tell them its your mental health and your life and they don't have to control every aspect of it
September 23rd, 2020 5:39am
Talking to your parents about your mental health issues can be hard. I have had and still struggle with depression, social anxiety and impact issues. Im not gonna lie, i havent even brought the issue up with my parents, so what qualifies me to tell you about this. I suppose its something you just have to get out there and just say. As much as you dread it, it will become worse the longer you wait, so just put it out there. In a hypothetical situation, your parents will care about you and understand, and do whatever it takes to make you better. There are some parents like that, but most will deny it or just wont care. but i think as long as you tell them over and over and you show them how much you need it, theyll eventually understand
October 1st, 2020 2:52pm
I know admitting to your parents that you need help can be really overwhelming but recognizing that you need help is a huge step! When I had that conversation with my parents I was really nervous, almost feeling like I might get into trouble. I asked if we could talk after dinner, while we were already still sitting down. I explained that I was struggling and gave them some idea of what was going on. I did say that although I loved them, that this was really personal and that I felt like a professional would be better for me to talk it through. They were appreciative for my honesty and worked with me to see a professional.
October 1st, 2020 8:53pm
Your parent's job is to take care of you. How are they going to do that if they don't know what you need? Sometimes it can be hard for a parent to know what's happening in their children's lives unless the child tells them. I suggest finding a comfortable time to approach one, or both, of your parents and explain how you're feeling. Let them know you'd like to see someone to talk about these feelings. Maybe they can help you discover things you may not have considered. Therapy is great, but you will need support in whatever you choose to do moving forward. I hope you get the help and support you need.