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

247 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
October 14th, 2020 9:46am
1. Think thoroughly as to what would you want to say. 2. Understand the need behind seeking the help of a therapist. 3. Do not under-rate or over-rate the need to see a therapist. Talk to your parents calmly as you would with a friend. 4. Tell them the reason frankly. They are your parents. Every parent would love to help their children. 5. Explain them the situation. If they understand, its good. If not, ask them what can you do to deal with your issue. They would have seen the world more than us. They may have simple and effective solutions to most of the issues that children face.
October 23rd, 2020 3:04pm
Telling your parents about wanting to see a therapist is a difficult situation. I believe that the best way to do this, if you are sure that it is a safe environment, is to sit them down and speak honestly about the issues and problems that your facing, and how you believe that this is a possible solution. Sometimes in person confrontation is hard, especially when you're dealing with anxiety, so it may even be better to start the conversation off by sending a text message that clearly lays out your feelings, so there is less confusion when you sit them down to speak.
October 28th, 2020 6:00pm
Sit down with them and explain to them how in the situation you're currently in you feel like a therapist is the best possible option. The reasons why you feel you need help shouldnt make sense to others, only you. And also you dont need a massive traumatic event to want to seek help. Many of us shame ourselves when we feel like we need help because what we've been through isn't as bad as someone else's, but each person react different to every single situation. So make sure you dont let anyone invalidate your feelings or gaslight you. Asking for help is one of the bravest things one can do, and I'm proud of you for being willing to take the step.
November 15th, 2020 1:12pm
I found it particularly difficult to tell people especially my parents I was seeing a therapist. I think a lot of people believe seeing a therapist means there is something very wrong with you (that is true for my parents and siblings). But I guess you have to understand for yourself why you want to see a therapist. 1) Challenging negative behaviour/feelings, and 2) Being more self aware. These were my reasons for doing therapy, and once I accepted that there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself FOR yourself, it made it easier to let other's know you are taking this journey of self discovery/improvements.
November 26th, 2020 7:49am
Always know that parents know you better than you know yourself. They will understand that you are in trouble and need help. You can tell them to sit down and bring up topic that is bothering you and say that you need help from therapist. Tell them what you feel very frankly. If possible talk to your siblings too. They may be irritable but when it comes to your health, they are the first one that you can trust. Another option is to make an appointment with therapist. Tell your therapist how you feel and tell your therapist to talk to your parents.
December 26th, 2020 10:23am
If you want to see a therapist it is really important. Telling your parents is a big step and even having the courage to think about telling them is a big step. If you want to talk to your parents maybe try explain the reasons why you want to. This may help them understand why. I accessed a therapist through school. Maybe that's another option you could try? I hope you find a way of getting the help you so rightfully deserve! I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to drop me or another listener a message if you want to talk about your options. They are more than happy to help you!
December 26th, 2020 11:23am
Sometimes, honesty can be the best policy. That also depends on what your relationship with your parents is like, and what views they may have about mental health and therapy in general. Most parents want their children to be happy and healthy, and would want them to be able to seek help in achieving that if they were not.. So, just telling them how you are feeling, and why you want to see a therapist and how you think they would help may be the best, most direct, and effective way of letting them know that you may need some outside support. It can be hard to let people know that you are struggling, but in the end they could be very grateful that you confided in them, and be there to support you along the way.
January 3rd, 2021 1:14pm
it's always going to be hard for a parents to hear their child (no matter of you are young, a teenager or even an adult) wants to talk to a therapist, for this communication is the key. Talk to them in a moment where they are calmed down, you can try to approach one of them first (maybe the one you feel the closest to at the moment), and explain the reasons why you feel like talking to a therapist . Avoid expressions like "I can´t talk to you", "no one ever listens to me here" since it will only increase the possibility of a fight, instead trying explaining your feelings (not necessary the problem if it´s something you don´t want to talk about with them). Try something like "I´ve been feeling overwhelmed for a long time and I don´t know how to cope with it anymore" or "I feel constantly stressed and I could really use some professional advise ". Keep in mind that your parents might feel like they failed you and maybe they will get emotional, this things are normal, just assure them that you think is the best for you at the moment and that it will help you feel better and even improve your relationship with them.
January 10th, 2021 2:43am
Be frank. Beating around the bush does not really help. They may offer to listen and be there for you but the way trained therapist can help is way more efficient. Tell them about how you feel and how things have changed. For your parents, you'll still be their little kid. They often fail to notice how things have changed for you and how you may have opinions different from what they have been teaching you over the years. Whatever the outcome you end up with, you would've at least compelled them to think about your mental health and the fact that you need help would be recognized by them.
January 14th, 2021 9:18pm
Be straightforward with them. Tell them why and make your demand extremely clear to them. Let them know about your feelings and why you need this therapy, this allows them to understand you more. Be prepared for judgement and misunderstanding, and be patient with them. Make sure you approach them politely and respect their decisions, but always remember to stand your ground and get your desire across. Remember that you are extremely courageous for even bringing up this demand, that is a large first step that will go to the betterment of your future. Continue to fight for what you feel is right for you.
February 28th, 2021 5:27pm
When speaking to my parents on this topic I've learnt to have a very measured approach. Our parents love us and despite their perceived shortcomings, they generally try their best (even when we feel their best wasn't enough.) Parents are hardwired to care when we express that we're having difficulties but they're also human in that they can easily be made to feel as though our hardships are their personal failures. "I'm having some trouble dealing with life at the moment and feel it would be helpful to speak to an objective professional" has worked for me in the past.
March 14th, 2021 5:52pm
I can really hear that you have questions about how to go by communicating your need to go and see a therapist. Explaining why you would like to see a therapist to parents can be helpful if you have a good relationship with them. If you do have reservations about telling your parents do reflect on why that is the case. Is it because of cultural stigma? You may have in the past experienced not getting the support you want by sharing with other people. Is it because of gender? Do you fear that by sharing you would be labelled or considered over-reacting? Do you fear the response will reflect toxic positivity? Consideration of how in general you respond to people who have reservations about sharing things with you can be relevant too in understanding your compassion for yourself versus others. Do you apply the rules differently to yourself as opposed to others? Are you hard on yourself about some things but when others open up to you about their insecurities you try your best to make them feel better about themselves? Was there a time you shared something with someone that was met with a negative reception which has held you back from sharing in the future? Ultimately it is down to you to make that decision to choose to be open. Sharing is a choice that cannot be forced by others but must be motivated from within. For further support you can communicate with one of our listeners or therapists on our site. I wish you the best of luck with your journey towards being proud of seeking help.
March 18th, 2021 2:57am
Seeing a therapist is a good step in achieving better mental health overall. However, telling your parents that you would like one is often daunting. Parents will react differently; some will arrange a first appointment and some might take it as somewhat of a personal attack even when it certainly isn't meant to be. It is important to sit your parents down and let them know that you are being one hundred percent serious in your request. Be sure to specify why you would like to see a therapist to whatever extent you are comfortable with. Saying that seeing a therapist is a lot like seeing a doctor lets your parents know that your mental health is important. Remember that you are entitled to mental healthcare. If they do not allow you to see a therapist, a good place to start would be at, for example, a school psychologist and proceed from there.
April 8th, 2021 5:23am
Begin by making sure that you share the news with your parents when they are relatively calm. Then share that you are hoping to grow more in your health/ wellness by speaking to someone that is licensed and skilled to provide help in attaining that goal. It is possible that your parents may be apprehensive or feel angered that you are seeking advice outside of the family or beyond them. If this is the case, allow them to cool off. If you need to speak someone immediately, check and see if there are resources that you can access via school
April 18th, 2021 7:27am
It depends on how your relationship with your parents is. Seeking therapy is taboo for some parents, so I understand why it can be hard. You can always begin by speaking to them about how you feel. It may not be easy, however, your parents want the best for you. Let your parents know that seeking a therapist will be helpful for you during this time. Keep the conversation general and stay calm. If they do not seem to understand, remind them of how you feel and how you had the courage to speak to them about it. Let them know that you are reaching out because you trust them and are in need of professional help. Hope this helps !!
April 22nd, 2021 4:58pm
Have a sit down conversation with them. "hey mom/dad, can you sit down for a second? I want to talk with you two about something" and if youre comfortable with it explain some of how youve been feeling. Let them know whats been going on, and bring up how seeing a therapist could help you a lot. When I first brought it up with my mother, I sent her a text because speaking with my voice about feelings is scary to me. If you think that would be better maybe do something like that instead! I think its great that you want to reach out and get that help, I wish you well honey.
April 28th, 2021 8:59am
I get how overwhelming it can be to speak to your parents about seeking a therapist considering the stigma that surrounds mental health but the best way to tell them is to just be honest and upfront about how you're feeling and how a therapist might benefit you. Your parents will love you no matter what so even if at first, they don't understand or get angry/disappointed, eventually they'll come around because they want what's best for you. If I were in your place, I would let my parents know about what I'm going through and how I think a therapist is going to help me and give them some space to think through things.
May 1st, 2021 6:59am
Say what you’re having trouble with, and how it’s affecting you. For example, “I’m realizing it’s really hard for me to participate in class. Even if we’re just reading out loud, I’m terrified the teacher will call on me. I get really anxious and I can’t concentrate. Sometimes I feel so anxious I say I’m sick so I can stay home from school.” Or maybe, “I’m not feeling like myself these days. I’m tired all the time, and I don’t want do things after school. I feel sad all the time — I don’t feel right.” (Hope this helps) :3
May 14th, 2021 1:13am
Update them on your mental health. Let them know you’ve tried your best to find solutions, but it would be better if you could talk it out with someone. Yes, you could talk to other people, but therapist tend to find solutions and make plans to get your mental health back to normal. If therapy isn’t working, you can stop anytime! If it is working, you can make appointments anytime with your therapist! It will be a good experience to let all of that bottled up sadness/anger out and not have anyone judge you for it! Best feeling ever! I promise.
May 23rd, 2021 9:05pm
It can be hard to discuss mental health with parents. If it's safe, telling them directly is often the best way. You can list out what you hope to gain from the therapist, and what makes you feel that way. If possible, offering potential options helps to ease their burden as well. You can also frame it as seeking a life coach in order to be successful at work or in school, if that's more palatable to them. Unfortunately, there can be times where it's not safe to bring it up at all, in which case the best thing to do is whatever it takes to stay safe long enough to get a therapist on your own terms.
May 26th, 2021 2:06pm
This is a great question. Well done for anybody who is asking themselves this question right now. Firstly, what I've always advised young individuals to do is to see if their schools offer sessions with a nurse or counselor who can approach the topic and discuss the possibility of emotional support with you in confidence. They have the added perspective and privilege of understanding your culture, context, and age, and they should know many of the resources available to you in your area. In addition, discussing matters with them should be highly confidential (barring the standard exceptions of potential harm), meaning that you can talk to them about telling your parents, and they might possibly support you through that in-person (they may even offer to be there as you tell your parents, as an intermediary). Alternatively, if you'd prefer to tell your parents on your own, I'd recommend thinking through your wording a little bit beforehand. This can help you feel more confident that what you're trying to express will be interpreted as closely as you meant for it to be interpreted. Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out to a listener who feels knowledgeable and sensitive to you. Maybe you can use them as a soundboard to get perspective on how your process is going, and on how your plans feel to you as you navigate telling your parents and communicating with them. Good luck. :)
May 30th, 2021 5:08am
Hello, friend! I understand it can be nerve-wracking bringing up something new like this with your parents, especially if you're not sure how they will react, or perhaps even embarrassed to discuss what you've been feeling or going through. I would test the waters, perhaps by asking them if they've ever seen a therapist before, and try to figure out what their stance is on mental health. Maybe they'll even ask you on their own if you'd like to see a therapist once the topic is brought up! Aside from that, you're welcome to chat with listeners for free through 7 cups of tea. Good luck!
June 16th, 2021 5:06pm
Sometimes it can be difficult to explain to your parents that you want to see a therapist. However, it may help to keep in mind that your parents likely want what's best for you. You could try presenting the topic in a neutral manner, for instance, by explaining that you think you would benefit from speaking with a professional about some things that you're having difficulty with. If they ask why you can't just talk to them or a friend, you can kindly explain that while you value those relationships, you want to see a professional specifically because they are not part of a personal relationship with you and can therefore provide a more impartial perspective.
September 1st, 2021 9:35am
Funnily enough I just heard a podcast regarding a similar question. And the answer is let them know why you need an external professional help with management of your mental health. Emphasize on your issues, the role of a therapist, effectiveness of therapy and counseling. As parents surely the wellbeing of their children would be a priority, and if you come from a background wherein mental health and everything related to it is often regarded as bogus then unfortunately your solution would be to lie and meet one. Focus on yourself first and once that is done we can think about changing your parents mindset.
September 8th, 2021 4:29am
Just go to your parents and ask to talk about something, tell them you want to go to a therapist and give some insight as to why. Give them a reason for why you want to go, it could be just because you need someone from outside to talk to or you are feeling sad. therapist are for everyone whether you have a problem or not. you may have to consider money and time and definately talk about that and be open to suggestions. you may have to try multiple therapists as well to find one that really works for you and you have to make all of that stuff clear to your parents. Good luck!
September 15th, 2021 10:45am
1. Tell them there is nothing wrong to seek professional advice. It is just like any common treatment. 2. Explain properly why you want to seek them. 3. Share your understanding and feelings about that issue with parents. 4. Talk to them calmly about it and tell your parents how you are feeling about that situation and why you want help. 5. Explain them this is as normal as you ask a difficult question in your maths class it is normal to visit a therapist. 6. Don’t try to fight them, keep calm and tell everything you feel about it.
September 18th, 2021 4:32pm
It can be scary to talk to parents about wanting to see a therapist. Different parents within families may have a wide range of responses. You know your parents best and how they often respond to things and things that are going on in your life. Sometimes, it can be helpful to make a list and brainstorm things. It can be helpful to reflect and ask oneself questions. What is your motivation with seeing a therapist? What are goals that you have for therapy? What are you most concerned about with telling your parents that you have the desire to see a therapist? Sometimes, understanding your personal 'why' behind wanting to see a therapist can be helpful for then having a discussion with parents/parental figures. Whatever your reasons may be, it is inspiring that you are on here and on your journey to seeking professional help. You matter.
September 24th, 2021 2:49am
Wait for a low-stress time when your parents will be in a calm state of mind. Avoid starting the conversation after they've had a rough day, if they're tired, etc. Think about your own reasons for wanting to attend therapy, and rehearse them if you feel like it will help make the experience smoother for you. Let your parents know how you've been feeling, and why you think a therapist would be helpful. Common reasons are that a therapist is an expert in mental health, so they can offer the best support. Therapy also provides a stress and judgement free zone to share feelings and emotions. Understand that your parents may have a lot of questions, especially if they weren't expecting the conversation. Finally, give yourself a pat on the back. Reaching out for support can be difficult, but it shows how resourceful you are. Good luck on your mental health journey.
October 16th, 2021 6:09pm
It can be difficult, because parents normally want the best for you, hoping they can give you everything. Sometimes though, love is not enough. A good talk with family doesn't hurt, but there are times when it feels like it just isn't enough. The way I told my mom was as it follows: "Mom, I'm feeling a lot of things at once and I don't know how to express them. Maybe a professional could help me understand. I know i can talk with you about things, but you see me from a parent's perspective, and I think I need an outsider's opinion."
October 28th, 2021 5:47pm
Thats a very good question! When i was younger i felt the need to see a theripast. Of course i had seen one in the past so i said hey mom i think it would be a good idea if we got another theripast for me. She said it was okay so i did and i made a lot of progress from it. If you feel as if your parents will yell at you for some reason sometimes you just have to deal with it because its what you need and they should be able to understand that