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  • Writer's pictureAlyssa Zajdel, PhD

How Do I Support My Teen in Therapy?

Updated: Jan 1

Supporting a teenager through therapy involves unique considerations. Here are some tips to help:


Respect Their Privacy: Teens value their privacy. Encourage open communication, but respect their boundaries. Let them know you're available to talk if they want but avoid pressuring them to share more than they're comfortable with.


Acknowledge Their Autonomy: Respect their autonomy in therapy. Teens might want to handle sessions independently. Let them take the lead in discussing their concerns and progress with you.


Normalize Therapy: Discuss therapy in a casual and positive way. Normalize the idea that seeking help for mental health is as normal as seeking help for physical health. This can reduce the stigma around therapy.


Offer Emotional Support: Be a source of emotional support. Listen actively, provide a non-judgmental space, and offer empathy. Sometimes, just knowing someone is there to listen can make a huge difference.


Be Patient and Understanding: Teenagers might find it challenging to express themselves. Be patient with their pace and understanding of their emotions. Encourage their efforts and growth without pressure.


Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Support your teen in developing healthy coping strategies. Encourage activities they enjoy, such as sports, arts, or hobbies, to help them manage stress.


Engage in Personal Therapy: Being a parent is stressful! Having your own therapist can be helpful to better understand your own mental health needs and get additional support. This demonstrates that seeking help is a sign of strength.


Model Self-Care: Lead by example. Show your teen the importance of self-care by taking care of your mental health. Engage in activities that prioritize your own well-being.


Avoid Judgement: Some topics discussed in therapy might be sensitive or difficult. Stay calm and avoid judgment. This creates a safe space for your teen to share without fear of criticism.


Maintain Consistency: Try to keep a consistent routine at home. Stability elsewhere can provide a sense of security, especially when therapy might introduce new elements into their lives.


Seek Guidance When Needed: Don’t hesitate to consult the therapist if you’re uncertain about how to best support your teen. Therapists can offer insights and strategies for a supportive home environment.


Supporting a teen in therapy involves balancing guidance and autonomy, being a reliable source of support, and fostering an environment that encourages their emotional growth and well-being. Remember, your role is to be a steady and understanding presence in their journey towards mental health and self-discovery.



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