When a teenager is getting into trouble at home or at school, professional therapy can be a great way to get to the root of the problem that is causing her to act out. However, many teens are not too keen on the idea of seeing a counselor or therapist. If your teen refuses to attend therapy sessions, try these five tips to change her mind:
1. Offer a Trial Period
If your teenager is dead-set against seeing a counselor, offer her a short trial period of just a couple sessions. If you can get your teen to agree to even one single therapy session, that might be enough to convince her to continue going. Right now, the main goal is to just get her through the therapist's door.
2. Find Another Trusted Adult
Sometimes, teenagers are more willing to accept the advice of another adult over their own parents. If this is the case, don't feel bad because it's really not that uncommon. If you can't seem to make any progress yourself, ask another trusted adult in your teen's life to discuss the option of therapy with her.
3. Explain that Therapy Sessions are Confidential
Your teen may refuse to attend counseling appointments because she thinks the therapist will report back to you everything that was discussed in the session. Sometimes, teens worry that their parents and therapists may even team up against them. Explain to your teenager that her therapy appointments are private and whatever she says in the session will stay between her and the therapist.
4. Stress that Therapy is Not a Punishment
Always frame the idea of therapy as a positive step that many people take at some point in their lives. Let her know that you're not punishing her for past behaviors by sending her to a "shrink." Your teenager may feel differently about the idea of seeing a counselor if she is assured that this is not a consequence for misbehaving.
5. If All Else Fails, Try Bribery
If you still can't make inroads with your teen after trying the previous four tips, consider offering her some sort of reward for attending a session. The reward doesn't have to be expensive, it just needs to be something you know she really wants.
Your teenager's therapist, one like Fairbanks Counseling & Adoption, can be a very valuable resource to have during times of difficulty. Using these tips to convince your teen to attend her first counseling appointment could be the best decision you've ever made.