Getting your loved one to accept treatment might be hard. Despite a lack of interest your child might have in seeking therapeutic support, there are multiple benefits to combat their hesitation. It's important to explore ways to positively encourage your child.
If resistance is prominent, realize your teen does not necessarily have the answers solely within their grasp to alleviate their symptoms. Tell them how much you love them and will support every effort to having them feel better. Engaging an expert to help their emotional state is a way you are supporting and caring for them.
During a non-crisis filled moment, let your teen know specifically why you are concerned about them. Without judgement, cite specific observations or examples that you have noticed. Be brief and offer specific reasons why you believe a therapeutic relationship with a therapist or counselor will help them.
Listen To Their Reasons For Hesitation
“It takes too much time.” Remind them that taking care of themselves in all ways, including therapy, is important to their health. It’s helpful to look at therapeutic time for your child as a boost of wellness and support, rather than a detriment. A long range view of the benefits, especially long-term that can be gained from finding the right connection with a therapist, can turn this negative into a positive.
“I don’t want to share personal stuff”. If negative association is paired with therapy, it can be a result of trepidation towards therapy itself. Let your teen know that you view it as any skills based class that when putting time and commitment towards it, can enhance and educate one's mind and overall well being.
How you view therapy as an outlet for support, can determine the negative or positive messaging received by a child. Remember the goal is to help improve their outlook on life and their current coping mechanisms for their presenting symptoms. A positive and constructive sales pitch is a helpful route to seek.
Sometimes it takes several visits to a therapist to determine if this is the “right fit.” Encourage your teen to continue their appointments for at least 3-5 sessions before determining that this is not a helpful therapeutic alliance.
Be A Role Model
Sometimes parents also benefit from counseling or family therapy when their teen is facing a significant emotional or mental health crisis. Remain open to the option of your own therapy. Not only does this de-stigmatize engagement with mental health professionals, but can be of extraordinary help in improving your teen’s and family’s well-being.
Source: Written for TEAM. by Dr. Amy Heneghan of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Dr. Tracy Bianchi