Social illness

How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy — Talkspace

What You Might Expect

If you’re trying to figure out how to tell your parents you need therapy, you may find it helpful to think about how they might respond. Having a plan for a difficult conversation can ease feelings of anxiety. Not all parents will react in the same way, but the following types of responses are all fairly common, so it might be beneficial for you to walk through each possible outcome in advance, so you can plan how to respond before you’re faced with the actual situation. 

Your parents may be supportive

It’s quite possible that your parents will be fully supportive of your request. In fact, if they’ve recently been concerned about your well-being, they may feel relieved that you’ve come to them for help. 

Try to remember that in most instances, your parents want the best for you. When you let them know how you’re feeling or that you’re struggling, you may find that they’re very sympathetic. Even if your parents don’t fully understand what you’re going through, they might be willing to give you all the support you need to seek a mental health professional.

Your parents might have questions

After you tell your parents that you need therapy, don’t be surprised if they have questions. They might want to know more about what or how you’re feeling or have questions about therapy. If your parents have never been to therapy themselves, they’re probably going to want to know more about it — for example, what therapy costs, how it works, and what mental health resources are available. 

If they have a ton of questions, it might feel like you’re being bombarded, which can be overwhelming. For this reason, it’s a good idea to prepare some answers ahead of time. If you’re able to respond to all their questions, you might be able to ease some of their concerns more quickly. 

Your parents may not understand

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health. Even if you express your concerns to your parents in a thoughtful way, they might not support your desire to seek therapy. They may feel guilty or believe that they’ve done something wrong.

Try not to be discouraged or give up hope, even if your parents respond negatively. Asking for help shows courage and strength. If they’re not supportive at first, keep in mind they might be in shock and can still change their minds later on. 

“Reaching out to your parents can be nerve wracking. You might be worried about how they’ll respond, but remember that even if they don’t understand, your well-being is important. If your parents don’t understand, don’t stop trying. Reach out to another trusted adult, at school or another family member. You deserve to be heard.”

Talkspace therapist Jill Daino, LCSW-R, BC-TMH

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