Tips for the Parent who Isn’t Sold on Therapy

It is estimated that 20 percent of adolescents have a diagnosable mental illness, and that as many as one-third of these individuals forgo treatment despite access to care.

With many lifelong mental health disorders developing during adolescence and suicide being the third highest cause of death in teens, receiving therapy or treatment can be crucial for young people.

Although adolescents may not understand their symptoms or be reluctant to receive professional care, family members often also have hesitations or oppositions to treatment that can prevent their child from receiving care.

These apprehensions may come from lack of information or misguided stigmas surrounding mental illness and treatment. While it can be difficult to change one’s perception of therapy, these tips can help ease you or your child’s fears about receiving treatment.

Get educated.

Families and teens may know little about what mental illness is and how it is treated. While we know to visit our primary care doctor for yearly physicals, we don’t always acknowledge that our mental and emotional well-being contributes to our health as well. Become familiar with the symptoms of common disorders such as depression, anxiety, oppositional defiance disorder, and eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Next, research local treatment options and the types of therapy they use. You may find that the skills and activities that are offered are not as severe or frightening as you previously thought.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Some parents (or children) simply may not recognize that their teen is symptomatic of a mental illness. They may dismiss behaviors as “a phase” or just the way that kids are at that age. It’s important to discuss any changes in behavior or attitude with your child’s physician. If you’re unsure if such behaviors are typical, ask. A doctor would be able to offer insight and make recommendations. 

Eliminate stigma.

As you become more educated about mental health, help to ease any previous stigmas that your child or your family members may have held. Share what you have learned with others, and inquire about the source of their apprehensions. Encourage them to be a part of the process. Many mental health facilities even offer family services to that allow relatives to experience and engage in their child’s treatment.

Adolescent Programs at GenPsych

If your teen or child is experiencing problems at home, socially, or in school, the GenPsych Adolescent Program (GAP) can help. We treat teens (13-17) and children (8-12) for a variety of mental health issues or needs. Our program includes family sessions, so that you can be a part of your child’s recovery. In addition to family therapy, our adolescent programming features art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, DBT and mindfulness, and more. On-site academic instruction is available for adolescents enrolled in our day program.

For more information or to schedule an assessment, call (855) 436-7792 or visit our GAP website here.


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