How Do I Get My Teen to Counseling?
By: Connie Mayer, LMFT Director of Outpatient Counseling
I often answer phone calls from parents who want to know how to get their teenager to come to counseling. I have been a therapist for 30 years and I have heard the same fears and hesitations. “My son told me he wont get in the car”,”I went to pick my daughter up after school and she didn’t show up”,”I’ve tried talking to my son and he says he doesn’t need it, give him time to change…”
Here are my tips about how to talk to your teen about therapy:
2. Creating a Trusting Relationship: Once your teen begins to build a relationship with the therapist, your teen and the therapist will decide what amount of time (sessions) are needed for teen – this might be as many as 2 sessions. The therapist is focused on truly engaging your teen and really exploring what the teen feels will benefit them from continuing therapy – not what the parents thinks should benefit the teen. A skilled teen therapist will keep the parents in the loop but encourage the teen to feel in charge of their treatment and progress.The therapist must bridge a relationship with the teen that encourages autonomy, respect and privacy so the teen feels open to the process of growing within a counseling relationship.
Connie Mayer has an impressive 25-year history of providing professional counseling services to youth and families in the Bay Area. She has been with ACS at Director of Outpatient Counseling since 2011 has successfully expanded the Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program and After-School Counseling Program. Connie is also a practicing therapist in her off hours.