How to Tell your Parents you want to see a Counselor

I want to start off by saying that you know your parents and I don’t. I don’t have a “one size fits all” response that will magically get them to allow you to go to therapy.That being said, if you’re reading this, you are wondering how to tell your parents you want to see counselor and are nervous about how your parent(s) will respond. Here are some common reasons teens go to therapy. If I were sitting with you (in person) I would ask you a few questions that are worth knowing the answer to before talking with your parent(s).

1. Why are you nervous about asking them if you can start counseling? Many teens are afraid that if they tell their parent, their parent will want to know everything they have going on so that the parent can ‘solve’ the problem. If this is the case for you, I encourage you to tell your parent that you are trying to solve some of your current challenges independently.

2. Other teens know that their parents believe therapy is for “sick” or “crazy” people. If your parent has a belief similar to this, it makes sense to let them know that you are sorting through some personal/social issues that need an objective adult’s viewpoint. This has nothing to do with some scary diagnosis.

Okay. If you have answered the above questions, you might be ready to talk with your parent(s). At this point, you should have a basic idea about whether it will be best for you or a trusted adult to have this conversation with them.

1. Set a time with your parent to have the conversation. Find a time that allows for few distractions and a lot of privacy.

2. Be sure no one is using chemicals at the time of the conversation.

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, 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).

4. 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.

5. If possible, choose a therapist/counselor ahead of time (you can find many of us online). Read my blog about how to find a good therapist for yourself. If your parent has questions they want to ask the therapist, most of us are happy to sit down and answer questions that teens and parents might have before therapy starts. Most of the time, this question and answer session is free of charge.

6. If your parent does not respond well, it makes sense to end the discussion for the night. A fight is not necessary. Some statements 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.”

How to tell your parents you want to see a counselor

This is just  a starting place. If the conversation doesn’t go well (more than once), you may want to talk with your school counselor, a trusted teacher, pastor (etc.) to see if they are willing to talk with your parent(s) about your need for therapy. The counselor can help your parents understand your need for therapy (without spilling the beans about what you have going on). They can recommend that you see a therapist and give your parents a “referral.” (Click here to read my blog: How to Find a Good Therapist). If you choose to talk with an adult who is not a school or church official, inform that adult (before they talk with your parent) that you want privacy maintained when they talk with your parents. In other words, tell the adult that you don’t want them telling your parents everything. Most adults will honor this request as long as you are not in danger of hurting yourself or someone else.

Were these steps helpful for you in talking with your parents about getting counseling?

72 thoughts on “How to Tell your Parents you want to see a Counselor

  1. I agree that sometimes parents need time to adjust to the idea that their child’s interested in seeking counseling. The fact that their child is interested can be intimidating to a parent. The parent needs to understand that the child needs a safe place to discuss important life issues and sort of uncomfortable feelings. Great post!

  2. I agree with Renee, this post is very helpful and has given me some useful advice on how I may break the news to my parents. Thank you.

  3. Thanks so much for this helpful information!
    I have been long suspecting I am a psychopath (seriously) and am in need of therapy.

  4. Hi
    I am 12 and I have been cutting for some time now and want to stop because it is slowly killing me and I recognize that. Thank you for posting this and I will be sure to talk to an adult ASAP so that I can get help.

    Xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxx <3

  5. Im 15 ive had relationship problems, some drug abuse mostly to as an escape. The stress and depression inside is killing me slowly. I feel I can snap any day idkk. Ive cut myself i even almost attepted hanging myself I almost got on the chair. I still feel like my parents won’t understand i feel like they will think im joking. I tried bringing up a little bit how im depressed and stressed and they laughed and didnt believe me. I don’t know what to do still.

    • Thanks for writing. It sounds like you are in a lot of pain. I encourage you to talk with another adult you trust, who can help you get help. Teacher, school counselor, pastor/youth leader, boss, friend’s parents are some ideas. It is important, also, that your parents know some of the things you have tried because of your pain (cutting, etc.). If your parents cannot hear what you’re saying to them right now, please reach out to another adult in order to get the help you need.

    • Hi Ashley,

      If you feel you cannot trust anyone, my first question is: Why? Can you not trust people because they will tell your parents? Can you not trust people because you are scared? If you are a minor and you want to see a therapist, your parents will have to know (in order to sign papers, etc.). If you do not have a relationship with a trusted adult, other ideas are school social workers, school psychologists, school police officers, teachers… I hope this helps you.

      • Thanks. I been going through really bad things and it feels i tell my bestfriend everything but it doesnt feel like its enough or makes me feel better and one of my parents is a problem amd if i tell the other parent theyll tell the other parent. Then it will be horrabile from there. Im scsred if i tell my parents theyll look at me doffrent amd treat me like im something else. And i dont wamt that.

  6. hey,
    What if your parents are the reason that you are wanting to seek therapy or a counsellor?
    How do you tell your parents that?

    • Hi Samantha,

      Can you tell them that you want to go to therapy to learn how to work through conflict that you have with people? That you want to go to therapy to learn how to better manage emotions? That you want to go to therapy to learn how to cope better with relationship stress? That you want to go to therapy to talk with an objective adult?

      Let me know if these ideas help!
      megan

  7. I’ve been wanting to ask for a counsellor or therapist since August. I stated cutting mid August and stopped in November. My parents found out. They really weren’t sympathetic and no offence to them but I could tell they had NO IDEA how I was feeling and why I was cutting. I really needed someone to confide in, someone who wouldn’t tell anybody about what I told them. My parents told me they were going to get me a counsellor in a way that told me they didn’t mean it. They only meant to “intimidate” me with a counsellor. I told them that they should but I don’t have one!!! Things have started getting worse and I feel the same way I did in August when I started cutting. I’ve made it this far, but last time it got so bad I was seriously considering suicide. I still want and NEED a counsellor but I want to ask them in a way that doesn’t suggest that I’m cutting again. They will raid my room searching every nook and cranny for any…”tools”… But there aren’t any. They will ban me from being in my room and make me sleep on a foamy in the hall outside their door like they did last time, which was terrible…how can I ask them for a counsellor without this happening again???

    • Hi Kaytelynne,

      Thanks for writing. Sounds like talking with a counselor would be really helpful right now. My suggestions:
      1. Go to your parents absolutely on your own. Do not wait for them to come to you with a suspicion of cutting.
      2. Tell them that you thought about what they said before, and you have now decided that seeing a counselor would be a good thing for you right now. Tell them that you would like to work with a counselor to figure out why you were cutting before. Tell them that you want to figure out how to better regulate your emotions. (This is all, of course, therapist language. You can translate that into your own words).

      Good luck. I hope your parents are in a place right now where they can hear your words and really listen to your message.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  8. Well ever since I was about 12 or so my mom wont let me grow up. I am currently 15 and I would like to wear things I like, do things with my friends, and etc. But most of the time she says no. The other day I wore a shirt that showed my bra but don’t worry I covered it up with a nice cardigan. Before that I had no clue she asked me to wear a tank top underneath. Well anyways, on our way to a buffet she called me “WHORE”. And I don’t know how I should feel about that. I don’t go out with many guys, actually I never have been in a extreme/serious relationship. Neither have I dressed like a slut or anything. But the fact she called me that and Never apologized to me, it really hurt me and got me thinking “am I a whore, did I deserve that?” Not only am I having trouble at home, but I am stressed out from school. I feel so pressured and weighed down from school work, tests, mid-exams and finals, also studying and lets not forget about homework. I recently lost my best friend as well, she told me she didn’t want to be friends and that I am a jealous, and bitter girl. All of this is making me want to just give up and run away from home, run away from all of my personal issues, basically I don’t want to have anything to do with my friends and family. I just want to escape it all. Please help me.

    • Hi Maiya,

      Thanks for your message and I am so sorry you’re hurting right now. Being called a whore cannot feel good, and it sounds like you and your mom need to work through that incident. Have you asked your mom if you can see a therapist before? I think working alone in therapy, or with your mom in family therapy, would be helpful. Please know that you (and your mom!) can make this better. The school year will end and you will have temporary relief from school work. You and your mom can work through this if you try. I really do encourage you to ask her about it.

      All my best to you,
      megan

      • Thanks. I shall try my best to talk with her. Even though every single conversation ends up with an argument. But thanks for taking you time to answer me back, I appreciate it 🙂

  9. I have already begged my parents for a therapist, but they say I don’t need one enough for how expensive it is. Every time I go to my school counselor, there are students hanging out in there that tease me, so I get too uncomfortable to say anything. I find myself skipping class more and more often to hang out with my club advisor’s classes. Next week are finals, and I’m going to fail them all, but I can’t stand to be at school anymore. I’m 16 and I have a job where I stand in the back room in semi-darkness and hang clothes. They don’t even notice if I come to work anymore. I can’t stand my life and I hate it here, but my parents refuse to give me somebody who listens to me.

    • Hello,

      I’m sorry you feel so alone. A few things:
      1. It would be helpful to tell the school counselor that you would like some privacy, or that you want to make an appointment to visit with him/her when he/she is alone.
      2. Maybe your parents don’t understand how much you’re actually hurting? It might make sense to go back to your parents and explain to them why you really want to see a therapist. If that isn’t going to work, you can text them or write them an email or letter. Though therapy can be expensive, most parents will want to help their kids if they are aware of how much their kid/teen is hurting.
      3. Please remember that this is temporary. Life will change and you will have the choice to have so many wonderful years ahead of you.

      I hope something I have written helps you.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  10. Hi. So I’m 18 years old and lately I’ve just realized that I haven’t been very happy in my life. I feel like I’m never good enough. I always put on this fake smile and everyone says that I’m one of the happiest people they’ve ever met. But they don’t know it’s a lie. I wanna talk to my mom about going to talk to someone but I don’t wanna seem like an attention seeker or make a big deal out of it. I’m still not sure how I should go about this. Help!

    • Hi Courtney,

      Thanks for writing. The fact that you are worried that you will seem like an “attention seeker” to your parents (for asking for help) tells me that you are prioritizing other people’s needs over yours (other people’s perceptions, thoughts, etc.). I’m happy that you want to prioritize yourself and that you are thinking about doing so. A “casual” way of talking to your parents about your need for therapy is to say something along the lines of: “I have a few things that I want to sort out with an objective third party,” or “I have some things that I want to talk to another adult about, and I want that person to not be related to me,” etc. Does this help you, Courtney?

      All my best to you,
      megan

  11. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m bipolar or have mild/moderate bipolar tendencies. I go through these phases that last a couple weeks each (sometimes longer or shorter) that alternate very visibly. For a couple weeks I’ll be terribly depressed; I feel alone regardless of what’s going on in my life socially, I have so many thoughts in my head that I can’t even make sense of them, and I just have this constant feeling of dread. It’s almost a physical pain sometimes that I can feel in my chest. Then after that depression runs its course, I find myself feeling motivated, almost invincible, and very interested in pursuing my artistic interests. I’ll get determined to play as much music as possible and draw all the time. And I get bursts of energy that make me wanna do anything and everything. I get impulsive and do things that scare or shock my friends. My drinking and drug use escalate, and I occasionally feel out of control. My parents are sort of rigid about mental health/therapy, and as far as they know, I’m perfectly happy. If I asked for therapy, I don’t even know how they would react. They’re the kind of people who think therapy is for “messed up” people, but if I told them I think I’m mentally ill, they would probably shoot it down with a bunch of denial and rationalization. Please help, because I need to figure out what’s going on with me.

    • Hi Erica,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about these ups and downs that you’re experiencing.

      I don’t fully know your situation, but it sounds to me like your parents would benefit from hearing about some of your struggles. They may be rigid about therapy, but you have some genuine concerns here. Most parents want to be sure their teen is feeling well, and the only way they can help you with that is if you share with them what is actually going on.

      My question to you: What is the benefit to you in hiding all of your pain from them?

      Please let them help you. Share with them that you have ups and downs. Share with them that you’re confused about what these ups and downs are, and that you really struggle during the down periods. That you take risks during the up periods.

      Wish you the best, Erica,
      megan

  12. So, I’ve had issues since I was about 10. Mainly dealing with depression and feeling alone. My parents have always noticed it and actually tried to get me to go to therapy a few times. But, I always refused because I didn’t think I was bad enough to go to therapy. I’ve always thought that I could just handle it on my own. But I’ve never really gotten a handle on it… In the past couple of years I’ve had one of my friends and my biological dad take their own lives, I’ve had my heart broken ( I feel so stupid saying that being that I’m only 16), and I’ve been hit by a car ( leading to a pretty bad fear of car accidents). I just feel like at this point I need someone to talk to. Yet, I would feel stupid telling them that I need therapy now but I didn’t before.

    • Caleb,

      I am SO sorry that you’ve had the past couple of years that you’ve had. I don’t know how any person could deal with all the things you’re dealing with, WITHOUT getting extra support. Please know that before all these things happened, you were in a place where it sounds like you were getting by on your own. Now, with all the trauma you’ve experienced in the past two years, you need to have a place to sort through everything. This is absolutely NORMAL, expected, and HUMAN. Please reach out for help; I can’t imagine dealing with all of this without extra help.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  13. I was in therapy a couple years ago and had the help of a school therapist to tell my parents I needed to go, and I stopped about a year into therapy because of my mother (freaked out at me kept yelling and making fun of the fact I was going and she kept saying she was the reason I was in therapy it was all her fault but she was being paranoid but she is indeed part of the reason I want to go back). I want to go back but I don’t know how to tell my dad because he thinks I’m doing so much better when I’ve just gone back to hiding it and he can’t see that.

    • Hi Gracie,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry that your mom did not understand your situation enough before. I’m sure you’re right; she was being “paranoid” or feeling guilty about your going to therapy. If this happens again in the future, I encourage you to tell your therapist that is happening with your mom, and see if your therapist can have a parent session with mom. Maybe mom just needs a bit more information so that she will back off.

      I understand that your dad thinks you are doing so much better, but being honest with him is important right now. If you have things that you want to work on in therapy, and you feel like you’re struggling more than he knows right now, this is even more of a reason to be honest with him. He can help you get to therapy and you don’t have to tell him all the reasons you want to see someone. If you tell him that you’re struggling again, that you do a good job of kind of hiding it, and that you would like more support from a therapist, my hope is that he will respond from a place of concern.

      Hope this helps.
      Good luck to you, Gracie,
      megan

  14. So, I’ve felt empty and helpless and hopeless since around february. I started cutting in march but my mother found out and she freaked. She threatened to take me to a mental institution, told me that I was not allowed to be alone for more than five minutes and told me I. Was not allowed to talk to my friends outside of school. I stopped cutting because I needed my friends’ support, but a couple of months ago I felt the need to cut again. I have been cutting since and its only getting worse. I know I need help but I’m terrified to tell my mom that I need help. I don’t know why I’m so scared and I don’t know how to tell her…

    • Hi Caitee,

      I’m sorry you’re in such a difficult place right now. I suggest telling your mom that you want to talk with a counselor because you need some coping skills. Let her know that you’re struggling with sadness, etc. and that you want help in figuring out how to feel better. On the front end, cutting does not need to be discussed.

      I hope this helps.

      Thinking of you,
      megan

  15. I had something traumatizing happen to me almost 2 years ago & I could’not stop having panic attacks I felt like I was dying all the time or going to die. Now, for the past like 2 months I’ve been depressed. Very depressed. I’m tired of hiding my emotions. I’ve been holding them back for 2 long stressful hard years ! I need to talk to someone bad ! I feel like I might have an anxiety dissorder. I thought I could handle it on my own but now I feel like I do need help. It’s like I’ve gotten depressed over night. But in reality I knew it was gunna escalade. I just wish I felt normal again. I’m tired of these feelings I have. A 16 yr should never have to feel like this. I wish this upon no teenager. It sucks the way I feel all the time. The only person that has ever stopped to listen to me has been my dog Dreamer. I thank her for that. She’s helped me a lot. But I’m sick of it. I’m gunna talk to a therapist soon.

  16. Sometimes well let’s just say most of the time my mom thinks that nothing’s wrong with me. There has been something wrong with me for 2 years ! I’m sick oft he family tension at home. Just everything. My brother & I have drifted far apart. Money’s tight. My dog Dreamer is the only one who listens to me & comforts me. I hide my tears & only let Dreamer see. None of my human friends have understood the damage I have. The only person that understands me & listens to me is Dreamer. She’s my everything. She’s helped me in ways that I don’t think anyone will ever understand. She’s practically saved my life. Sorry about all the venting but I’m having a lot of thoughts running through my head tonight. Just a lot of stress. I just literally got done about 20 min ago crying & hugging Dreamer. She licked away my tears & made me feel better. That’s what I love, her comfort & love. I get love from my family but they just don’t get me like my dog does. So I recommend, recommend highly ! To any teenager that struggles with any emotions or anxiety like me, get a dog. They listen, they can be the only best friend you have. They won’t go anywhere. Dogs are awesome. They fill that void in your heart.

  17. So since my dog has helped me so much I found out I can get a license to make her my Emotional Support Animal (EMA) I just have to get a note from a therapist & what not, get all the licenses & classes for her & I’m good to go. I just told my dad I need to see a therapist & he was very caring & loving. He asked if I was okay & he said he’s gunna call this therapist my doctor recommended to me today. So I’m happy. I just wanted to vent this out. I hope this all works out & I can feel at least a little bit better. Keeping my emotions bottled up for 2 years was probably a bad idea. Now along with everything else I have I have depression that just started like 2 months ago but I know I’ll get better.

  18. Hi. I’m currently 15 and I’ve been thinking I might have some sort of depression. I’ve had seriously negative emotions for the past 2 years and I’ve self harmed quite a few times. I’ve also considered suicide before. My problem is that I’m not extremely close with my parents. My mom is not good at sympathy or understanding someone my age. I know for a fact that my parents will tell me I’m over-exaggerating if I bring up anything along the lines of “I think I’m depressed”. I tend to act hyper around family but spend my nights holed up in my room. I fear they will not believe that I am in any need of professional therapy and will probably laugh it off. If I plead the furthest I’d get is being told to talk with the school counselor. I’m sorry to say this, and mean no offense to my school counselor, but she is not very good at such topics. I’ve had friends go to her for help and she often tells students that they are over dramatic and are simply seeking attention. I’ve been having negative thoughts lately again and my best friend who is one of the people I most rely on told me she does not want to be part of my life anymore. I’m afraid of losing self control and any help and advice would be highly appreciated.

    • Hello Kittenzkill,

      I think you have the right idea of going to your school counselor, even if you’re not a huge fan of her. If you tell your counselor that you have been self-harming and that you sometimes feel suicidal, she will give you a referral to a therapist. She can talk with your parents about getting you into therapy. I know you don’t really like to talk with your school counselor, but try to see her as a person who can connect you with someone who can help you. Many teens see the school counselor as the person who will help the teen, and sometimes the counselor can be that. I don’t think that is the case in your situation; rather it seems that your counselor will just help you find someone to see. If you need help talking with your parents, this counselor should be able to do that as well.

      I hope your meeting with her goes okay.

      Best to you,
      megan

  19. Hi Dr. Megan,
    Im 13, i talk back to my parents a lot, and i pick on my brother and fight with him.
    I cut myself before, i try to fit in a lot at school and my grades are not that good. Please help me.

    • Hi Abby,

      I can tell that you’re not happy with the things you do in your life that you listed in your post to me. If you feel that you are unable to change these things by yourself, please find an adult who can help you make the positive changes in your life that you are wanting. You will feel a lot better if you fight less and figure out what is going on at school.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  20. I just saw this and thought I would ask advice…! So here’s my problem, I’m 14 and my school is pretty large and I’m known for being like a “perky” type of person and I get taken advantage of a lot! It hurts people always tell me their problems but never think I have any! People always think I’m kidding when i try to tell them how i feel! I can’t talk to any of my friends but lately some of them haven’t been talking to me or anything! I have tons of anxiety about things but nobody notices it, I feel invisible! My grades are going downhill but my parents don’t get it.I feel like I can’t ask my parents about anything because they work a lot and if I ask for help at school I feel like I will be looked at different! The only teacher that gets me is my art teacher but she’s a family friend And I don’t want to bother her in asking for help! It’s hard I pretend I’m okay when deep down I know something is seriously wrong!! I don’t know how to talk to my parents about help!

    • Hi Abby,

      I’m sorry you’re feeling so alone right now. You get to be human and have problems/worries/concerns, too. Many of the teens I see end up coming to me because they told their parents that they have friend stress that they need help navigating. You can add that you are feeling isolated and that you want to work on developing better coping skills to manage your current life stress. I know that was a lot of adult language, but as I read your post to me, that is what I took away from what you need (from an adult’s perspective). Sometimes parents just need more words that will communicate to them that your needs are big enough to warrant professional help. I hope this helps. Your parents love you and want you to be healthy. If you let them know that you are hurting and struggling to feel supported, hopefully they will agree to allow you to see someone.

      Warmly,
      megan

  21. Hello. I am 16 years old and have been depressed for over a year. It has gotten to the point if suicidal thoughts and plans and over the past two or three months I have been cutting on my thighs. My parents found out and I started seeing a school psychologist, but he was absolutely no help to me so I just told him what he wanted to hear to get out of it. My parents are under the impression that I am doing better and haven’t cut since they first found out. I am getting worse and I am considering asking to go to a therapist. I don’t want my parents to know that I am still cutting and I am afraid that the therapist will tell them. I don’t want my parents to spend all of that money on a therapist if I can’t be honest with the therapist anyway. What should I do? Is the therapist required to tell my parents? Thank you!

    • Hi Paige,

      Not all therapists will tell parents about cutting. It is important to find out how the therapist handles cutting before setting up sessions with that therapist (if possible). If you are working and making progress on cutting with your therapist, then there is generally no need to include parents in that part of the treatment. I urge you to think about why you feel so strongly about your parents not knowing, though. Is it because you’re afraid of disappointing them? If so, please remember that most parents (I obviously don’t know yours) just want their teen to get better. Your parents will likely get you more help if they know how much you are struggling. Honesty is often a good approach.

      I hope you will reach out to them to get the help you need, Paige.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  22. So lately I thought me and my mom were finally bonding until today when she started yelling at me so I broke down and started to cry in ffront of her. So lately my friends have been back stabbing me and I feel like I can’t trust anyone. I have been wanting to see a therapist but when I told my mom she said I just wanted attention. Then that’s when I started to have bad thoughts about me and start becoming even more depressed how do I talk my mom in to letting me see a therapist??

    • Hi Kylee,

      It sounds to me like you need to just continue the conversation with your mom. Let her know that it’s not that you just want attention, rather it is that you feel overwhelmed by some things in your life and that you need a person to help you learn how to cope with all these stressors. Let her know that you are overwhelmed by how you’re feeling inside and that you need help in order to learn how to feel better. I hope some of these ideas help. If your mom knew about your bad thoughts, my hope is that she would want to allow you to see a therapist.

      Take care of yourself,
      megan

  23. Hi, I have been incredibly stressed lately and feel that I am now depressed. I do not cut and I never have. I think that therapy could help but I am concerned that my family will not be able to afford it. We are a middle class family and lots of our money goes to paying for dance classes since I want to be a professional dancer. These classes along with other related fees are incredibly expensive and I am worried that asking about seeing a therapist will make me seem ungrateful. Now especially, we are particularly pressed for money as it is the holiday season. I don’t want a therapist to be the straw that breaks the camels back. I’ve felt this way for a while, but have just recently considered asking for psychological help as my mental state has worsened.

    • Hi Alicia,

      I understand that your parents spend a lot of money on your dance lessons. Please remember that therapy is often covered by insurance, so this means that therapy could end up being fairly inexpensive for your parents. If they don’t have insurance, there are therapists who do “sliding scale,” which means reduced fee therapy. Therapy does not have to cost a fortune.

      Please talk with your parents if you feel that therapy will help you feel better. Your parents will likely be able to find a therapist that fits their budget.

      I hopes hs

  24. I’m 19, going on 20 in a few weeks, 5 month relationship with this amazing guy ended 2 months ago, but I still feel like I need him in my life. We tried being friends but I decided that wasn’t going to work out because I still have very strong feelings for him , I’ve been completely honest with him, but he has a new girlfriend, which tears ne appart. I also live in another country away from my parents, so I get to see them every 6 months, I get easily stressed out from school, and all that just builds up and I get really depressed at random moments and even have to hold back tears in public and around my family. I know I need help, I know what my problem is, I know I’m strongly attached to my ex because he’s only the second guy I’ve ever had a serious relationship with… I know I need to see a psychologist , but I’m also worried about the money… my mom’s a psicologist, so I know she’ll understand, but the money. ..

    • Hi Ana,

      I’m sorry about your break up. If your mom is a psychologist, she may be aware of lower cost therapists in your area. If not, you can call around to see which therapists offer a sliding fee scale for therapy. Many therapists list this on their website or Psychology Today listing. I hope this helps.

      Warmly,
      megan

  25. Over the past year, I’ve had problems with self-harm and anxiety. I still do, but my parents believe the self-harm has gone and because I haven’t had a panic attack in a while, that’s going too. But – specifically the past few months – everything has been getting worse. I have two close friends who I feel I can talk to, but the rest of my ‘friends’ act as if they’re messed up because it’s cool. I’d say I’m feeling panicky, and a person would tell me not to say that because that’ll set them off, and they’re worse.

    But the main reason I’m writing this, is because I think I’m a psychopath. I recently wrote a yahoo question about it all, with all the neccessary (I hope) information.

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20131223184530AAt1GSA

    My parents both used to be counsellors (my father specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy) and they act quite cold towards me whenever I try to talk to them. They analyse everything I do.

    I’ve had counselling before, but both times; my parents have been told everything I’ve spoken about and I hate that about the British system. CAMHS didn’t help, and I was discharged after two sessions because I didn’t have a panic attack in the space of a week. I can’t go to my school counsellor because she’s lovely and I just can’t talk to her about my feelings, especially because I’ve lied to her in the past and she’ll know if i go again.

    I just wish I could have a therapist/counsellor that I could go to after school or the weekend, where I could just talk and my parents don’t need to know anything. Is that possible?

    • Hi Niamh,

      It should be possible for you to have privacy in your therapy sessions. The two areas that therapists might talk with parents is self-harm and harm to others. I encourage you to meet with potential new therapists and let them know that you are worried about your privacy. Ask them how they will handle your privacy. Teens come in and ask me questions like this all the time before they start therapy with me. A good therapist will be honest when answering these questions.

      I hope this helps you.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  26. for awhile I have felt that my parents don’t really understand how I feel and when I try to tell one of them it gets turned around and I just get flustered. I’ve tried so many times to try and talk to them but I can’t bring myself to it. I started to just ignore them. I feel as if they might be the reason I want to go to a counselor or therapist because when ever I talk to them about help with homework they try and help but not in anyway that actually gets to me and I tell them that then they just walk away not knowing what to do. They’re always telling me to do all of my school work and sometimes it’s too much when they start yelling. I feel as if I’m just a disappointment and I don’t know how to tell them that or bring it up at all.

    • HI Claudia,

      I hope the article I wrote was helpful. It sounds like you’re doing your best to find ways to communicate with them (even through silence at times) which makes sense to me. That being said, it sounds like silence isn’t quite working. It does sound like you could use the support of a therapist; if the article wasn’t helpful, another idea is to talk with your school counselor and see if they can help communicate your message to your parents.

      Warmly,
      megan

  27. I think I might be depressed. I’ve felt this way for the past year. A few months ago I started to cut myself. The past couple weeks have been very hard and I’ve been thinking a lot about death and ways to commit suicide. I only have one friend who I’ve talked to about this before and lately I’ve stopped talking to them as much because I feel like they don’t really understand how I’m feeling. I think I want to see a therapist to talk to about this, but I don’t want to tell my parents any of the reasons why I want to see one. I really feel like I need have someone else to talk to, but the chance of my parents finding out what I think is wrong with me is preventing me from finding someone. Is there any way I could get my parents to take me to a therapist without me having to tell them why?

    • Hello mg,

      Absolutely. If you tell them that you have some hard things you’re dealing with and that you want to talk with a professional, hopefully they will allow you to go. Eventually it will likely be helpful for them to know that you have depression, but that is not something you need to deal with today.

      I hope you have gotten the help you need.

      Thinking of you,
      megan

  28. Hi Megan I have been through a lot in a years past and maby longer my parents have been doing drugs and not taking care of me and I love them I have already been living with my friend that I have known for 3 years and ended up telling them everything I was currently in a (chips) case a child in need of protection or services well I lied to the social worker and said everthing is going well they were using my pee to pass there ( U A) drug test. I have told all social workers everthing my friend family agreed to foster me and my parents just gave up physical and legal custody of me and I am now perminatley living with my friends family now and I have cut myself many times and I have took lots and lots of pills in high doses and my guardian ad litem has told my friends family that it is important to get me a counseler for everthing and they said oh ok yea we will get him one but they never did and they kinda laughed about it they don’t know how I feel at all they think I am happy all the time and I’m not I was planning to run away but have decided not to at least not right now I have thought of suicide and what I might do to make it happen but have not ever tried what should I do

  29. Hi Megan I have been through a lot in the past year or maby longer my parents have been doing drugs and not taking care of me and I love them I have already been living with my friends family for about 6months and I told them ever thing that was happening I have known them for 3 years and I was currently in a (Chips) case a child in need of protection or services and I lied to them all the way saying everthing was going well and it wasn’t my parents were using my pee to pass there (UA) drug test and I finally told my social worker and my attorney and guardian ad litem everthing and my friends family agreed to foster me and my parents now just willigly gave up custody and now I am currently living with my friends family I am happy about that on the other hand my parents are now getting evicted they have no money or food and no house they don’t even have their kid my friends family thinks I am happy all the time ape hen infact I am not I have thought about suicide and taken lots and lots of pills frequently in high doses and have cut my self many times but I think I should see a counceler infact my guardian ad litem told my friends family that they should get me in counseling and they said oh ok yea we will get him one and never did he kinda laughed about it too and it think it’s serious to me I was goi to run away and see if anyone really cared but I decided not to atleast not now have had suicidal thoughts what should I do I can’t tell anyone anything I never have been able to tell any one how I feel about anything I just keep it all inside I fear rejection and don’t want to be seen as wanting attention, I also have really bAd anxeity……

    • Hello,

      You have been through A LOT. The situation with your parents is complicated and you are supposed to feel a range of emotion about all that you have been through with them. Because your friend’s family is having you live with them, this tells me that they support you and want you to be well. They may have forgotten when you asked to see a counselor. I encourage you to be direct; let them know that you have thought about it and that you want more support. This is not attention-seeking; it is purely an attempt to sort through all that you have been through. They care about you and will likely listen. Please let them know that you are struggling. Please find a counselor that you can trust to talk about all of these things that have gone on in your life. Sharing with someone will likely lift some of the burden off of you.

      I hope this helps.

      megan

  30. I’m a Female to Male transgender… And recently I came out to my mom, last year, and she didn’t take it well.. Back in November, I was in public school and I talked to my counselor about everything.. And she asked if it was okay to talk to my mom about it, I let her, and when I got picked up from school, she was really mad at me.. She said that talking to someone about it was being mean to her..? I suffer from depression, but I don’t take medication, I really want to have a therapist, to talk to about everything, but I’m afraid that my mom will get mad at me if I do.. She’s a really devout Mormon, and she is really against me being transgender, she’s insulted me about it a lot and she always gets mad at me if I bring it up..
    I just don’t know what to do… It really hurts..

    • Hi Kye,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry you’re hurting right now. Many parents are initially hurt by teens talking with other adults about problems. Generally this is because parents take awhile to accept the transition from having their kids turn into teens. What I mean is that parents are used to their kids coming to them for almost everything. When teens become teens, they begin to be more independent and want to manage some of their “stuff” themselves. Parents can be hurt by this initially as they are having to adjust to their kiddo’s growing up. Okay… got that out of the way. So, moving forward, it seems that you need to enter the conversation with your mom about depression gently. Let her know that you love and appreciate her and that you are wanting to speak with someone privately about your depression; that you want to work with someone who is training to help you tolerate and manage your depression. How does this sound? I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you, Kye.

      All my best to you,
      megan

  31. I’m depressed, I’m 13 years old
    it all started when i was 9-10, I was really bad at making and keeping friends, i always the worthless one.
    i cut my self once a week ago , and i didn’t bleed , i just have a huge scar down my arm.
    I really want to talk to my school counselor.
    I dont want to talk to my parents because they are the other half of why i am depressed.
    I love them but i feel like they really dont care about my feelings, and me? being depressed? they would NEVER think that.
    and i can never tell them my feelings, ever.
    what will my counselor do? will she tell my parents?

    • Hi MarMar,

      I am not 100% sure about what your counselor will do, but he/she may help you (individually) to communicate effectively that a big part of why you are hurt right now is because you feel that your parents don’t care about your feelings. Your therapist will be able to help you with this. We all have different skills and different preferences, but your counselor will be able to help you work through this.

      I hope this helps you.

      Warmly,
      megan

  32. Sorry for such a long comment!

    This is an old post but i found it a bit helpful i guess. I relate to number 1 very much. i just told my mom that i had talked with my doctor, and that he suggested a therapist in the child and youth section. but as you said she says that if there’s something wrong, i should talk to her or my sister, and that both she and my sister talked to their mom and sisters if they had problems, and i told her people are different but she only said that we need to learn from each other.

    point is she says that i can sort this out myself without a therapist because i got family i can trust (which i do!! but im just not comfy and she doesnt get that!) and i told her i trust her but she doesn’t agree with me going there.

    my doctor has already sent in the thing to the youth and child help service thing, and now i need to cancel. didnt tell her that though, i dont know how she’d even react.

    but please help me, i dont know what to do.

    • Hello,

      I strongly encourage you to revisit the conversation with your mom. Tell her that you are aware that she disagrees with you, but that you would like to start talking with a therapist. Additionally, you can tell her that because you have different boundaries than she has, you are left in a situation where you are unable to talk with anyone about a few things that you would like to figure out. I hope this helps!

      Warmly,
      megan

  33. After my parents found out I was depressed and self harming, they took me to see our doctor. He was pretty much useless, really. He didn’t ask me any questions to understand the problem, didn’t ask me about my cutting, but he did say he will set up some counselling for me. He told my mother to call back in two weeks if she hadn’t heard anything. It’s been almost three months now, and nothing has happened. I’m suspicious that my mother called and cancelled and therapy I might me offered. I feel like therapy would help me lots, but she is sabotaging that opportunity. Am in just paranoid? What can I do?

    • Hi Emily,

      I am not sure what happened with your doctor’s referral, but I think it would be good to ask your mom if she has heard about the appointment; that you’d like to start seeing the counselor. If you really want to know more, you could call the clinic and ask for the names of the therapists that your doctor recommended. They will likely be able to call you back with the names.

      Good luck to you. I hope you get the help that you need and that you get to start counseling. My hope is that someone just accidently dropped the ball and when you ask, the referral process will begin again.

      Warmly,
      megan

  34. Hi,
    I’m 13 and I’ve been wanting to ask my parents about counseling for a while (for various reasons), but we’ve been having problems with money lately. I’m worried my parents will react angrily because I know we can’t pay for it. Do you have any advice for money situations?

    • Hi BD,

      Many therapists have “sliding fee scale,” which means that they see clients for a reduced fee. You need to look for this language on therapist websites. Also, there are free clinics that provide therapy. If you Google enough, you can find these resources in your community.

      I hope this helps. Best of luck to you,
      megan

  35. Hi, I’m about to be 16 now and I have depression. I’ve been kinda scared to tell anyone, especially my family, but reading this has made me feel more confident to at least talk to a close friend. Thank you so much!

  36. I have been really down in myself recently any I thought Counciling would be nice. My school councilor is nice in a way but I feel so sad and I don’t think talking about will help. Everything I ask for help I am put down 🙁

    • Hi Nick,

      I am so sorry that you have been feeling down lately. It makes sense to me that you are worried about talking with your school counselor, because everyone else has put you down when you ask for help. My hope is that your school counselor will see, hear, and understand that you need more support, and that they will be able to offer you that. I have no ability to make you go talk with this person, but if you feel you need help, the school counselor is a good place to start.

      Hope this helps.

      Warmly,
      megan

  37. (There’s a shorter thing at the bottom if you don’t want to read this whole thing)

    How do I know if I really need a therapist? I mean, I know that I have some issues but I don’t know if a therapist can help. I don’t think that I have depression or anything (although bipolar is in my family), it’s more of something that I have built up myself. So basically, and I’m not sure why, I have put on several layers of “masks” on the way I act, and have been doing so for too long to know when it started. I’m not sure why I have been, but I want to stop with them but now it’s just automatic that when I’m around certain people I change how I act to how I know will make them like me. Then I started questioning my gender and sexuality, which was mostly fine until I (maybe) started having dysphoria. That was when s*** really hit the fan, because I started telling myself that there was no way that I was actually transgender it was just me trying to be a minority (I always have disliked being considered a majority for some reason). So then I started mildly disliking myself overall. But eventually when I started wondering if I had a mental illness I told myself “there you go again, trying to be a special snowflake, it would be hell to have depression, you can’t think you have it!” and then that made me think more that I had it because of all of the self hating things I said to myself. A lot more happened, but cut that out and you now have me who hates myself, doesn’t know my gender or sexuality and hates myself for that, and hates myself for hating myself, but I don’t think that I have a mental illness. So the big question is: do I need a therapist? Or is this something that I can get through on my own (masks included, they were the instigator).

    Shortened version: I have started hating myself due to things that were my own fault, I don’t think that I have a mental illness though. Do I need a therapist?

    Sorry for the long rant that was equally asking for help as just spewing out what’s on my mind…

    • Hello Brendan,

      I feel that your focus is in the wrong place. You are focusing on whether or not you have “mental illness.” Perhaps if we focus on the fact that you are feeling like you hate yourself and that you have some other concerns, we will quickly see that getting outside support would likely help you. You’re right; maybe the therapy would not help. You won’t know until you try. I would encourage you to see a counselor just so you can start sorting through some of the things currently on your mind.

      Hope this helps.

      All my best to you,
      megan

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