If you are reading his post, you are probably one of two types of people:
- A parent who thinks your child could benefit from therapy OR
- A teen who is being taken to counseling
My next few posts are all about helping parents and teens understand each other’s point of view about going to counseling. Today, I answer two very common questions from teens about therapy.
“Can my parents make me go to counseling?”
Legally, it varies from state to state. In Colorado, teens who are 15 years and older MUST consent to their own therapy. Parents have to give their permission for teens who are under the age of 15 to be seen by a counselor. The age limit might be different in your state, but written permission for therapy is required everywhere.
So, if you are under 15, and live in Colorado, your parents can “make” you go to therapy. They can also strongly encourage older teens to go or make it a requirement in their home.
What parents cannot do, is force you to talk or make you be honest with your therapist. This is something you have to decide for yourself, regardless of your age.
“Why do my parents think I need to go to therapy?”
Some of the main reasons I see teens for counseling are when they experience:
- Hard times with friends or peers
- Not liking themselves
- Worries about the future
- Being bullied
- Wanting to die
- Abuse, violence or being mistreated
- Worries, nervousness or fears
- Grief after a loss of a family member, friend or pet
- Getting in trouble at school, at home or in the community
- Problems with anger or conflict
- Difficulties with school performance
This is just a short list of the things you can talk about in therapy sessions. Nothing is off limits. If you want to talk about it, go for it! Therapists are great listeners PLUS they'll offer suggestions and work with you to meet your goals.
Check back next week for a post about what you can expect when you go to therapy sessions. I'll also be posting soon about what's up with your therapist and why you just might like therapy!
Update: Check out the second and third parts of the series!
The Guide to Therapy for Teens, Part Two: What to Expect in Counseling
The Guide to Therapy for Teens, Part Three: What's the Deal with Your Therapist?
She is passionate about helping teens and families be happy and healthy!