How to Tell Your Parents That You Want to See a Counsellor

For many young adults who are hoping to see a counsellor or therapist, informing their parents is the most stressful part. This can often lead to people giving up on the idea altogether. However, it's important for you to receive the help you feel you need, so follow this guide to help make addressing the subject with your parents less stressful and more productive:

Let them know it isn't about them

Even the most supportive of parents can become upset when they find out that their child wants to see a counsellor. Your happiness is their number one goal, and finding out that you are experiencing difficulties will naturally make them feel sad. This will often lead to them blaming themselves, so make sure that you clearly underline that your decision is not down to them. Let them know that they have done nothing wrong – as long as this is the case – and that your own personal issues can't be solved by them alone.

Choose a good time

Try to find a time to talk to your parents when they aren't busy. The evening is often preferable since work will be over and they'll have the night to think things over. If either parent seems stressed, tired, or upset, you might consider waiting another night before bringing the subject up.

Avoid arguments

Some parents react negatively when they find out their child is planning to see a counsellor. This can be caused by numerous thoughts and emotions, and the parent in question will often need some time to process the information for themselves.

Avoid arguments at all costs by remaining calm and non-confrontational. If one of your parents becomes angry or upset, ask them to take the time to consider it, and let them know that you value their opinion. Leaving them to consider things overnight will often do a world of good.

Don't feel pressured to open up

One of the main reasons people find counselling helpful is that they get to talk to someone outside of their social or family circle. Sharing difficult thoughts or feelings with those close to you can be difficult – you don't know how they'll react, and it might make you uncomfortable to be around them.

Let your parents know that you trust them, but don't feel like you need to open up about the issues which you are dealing with. It's perfectly acceptable to just say that you're dealing with some difficulties, and you'd like to talk to a professional. Of course, parents will often leap to the worst conclusion, so you should at least let them know that you are not in danger. Even though you don't need to tell your parents exactly what is wrong, you might consider letting them know what isn't the problem.

Remember, making use of counsellor services represents a step in the right direction, so you shouldn't allow the thought of telling your parents to put you off.