Have you just started going to therapy to better navigate your life choices and the associated obstacles? Or are you someone who wishes to talk to your family about therapy? Or do you wish to understand how to tell your parents you need therapy? Well, you are not alone. Especially when you live in a country like India where talking about mental health can be nerve-wracking.
You might be going through thoughts like, “How do I tell my parents I need therapy?” or “Do I really need therapy?" Don't worry; it can be hard to grow up in an environment where everyone questions the idea of therapy. To help you out of this, we have compiled 17 tips on how to tell your parents you need therapy.
Let’s check them out and see how to tell parents you need therapy.
Why Is It Important to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy?
Letting your parents know why you need therapy is important so that they are in loop with what is going on with you. If, at some point, things escalate into something serious, they are able to help you out of it with the right guidance and support.
The conversation might not be an easy one, but if you make them sit down and listen to you properly, they might just understand your perspective and help you accept it better. However, if you are still feeling dicey about this, we will help you with some tips on how to tell your parents you need therapy in an effective manner.
17 Tips on How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy
If you have decided to tell your parents that you need therapy, that is quite good, but be prepared to answer a whole lot of questions, as our parent’s generation didn’t have the privilege of mental health services like we do. So here are 17 tips on how to ask parents for therapy:
1. Create a comfortable environment
Do not jump right into telling your parents that you are in therapy or are in need of therapy. Create a vibe of warmth, love, and friendliness—where you and your parents feel innately happy and are able to dive into such a serious topic smoothly and without forcing it.
2. Find the right time and place
It is important to find the right time and place to talk about such a thing. Do not randomly throw truth bombs at them; instead, when you are in a private space with them and intuitively feel that this is the right time to share, do it.
3. Educate them about therapy
Do not expect your parents to know about therapy. For them, it is still an alien subject, which means they might feel that a person needs therapy because they are simply abnormal, so make them understand it properly and how it is the same as physical therapy so that they do not panic and are able to take things calmly.
4. Do your proper research and communicate
When you sit down and talk to them, be ready for a lot of questions. In order to be prepared, it is important that you do your proper research and let them know about the charges, the importance of therapy, how therapy helps, and why you wish to take it. So even if they do not know anything, listening to you talk so confidently about it will give them a boost.
5. Express your feelings radically
Do not shy away or lie to them about your feelings. They are your parents and even they have seen their share of struggles in life, so try to be as honest as possible and tell them whatever is bothering you and how you wish to have an unbiased and objective person to help you solve it.
6. Reassure them that there is nothing wrong
Your parents will have mixed reactions—worriness, stress, upset, or even anger. Do not get angry because of it; they are accustomed to such reactions. Instead of running away from them, reassure them that there is nothing wrong with taking therapy and that, like physical therapy, mental therapy helps you in different aspects of life.
7. Clear their doubts without frustration
Your parents will have a lot of doubts and questions; do not get frustrated or shout at them if they do not wish to understand. Instead, answer their questions politely and give them the space to understand what you are going through.
8. Do not expect them to understand right away
Your parents will not understand your situation right away. They will take their time to grasp the situation and empathize with you. So keep your expectations to a minimum and give them that space to properly understand things and talk with you whenever they feel ready.
9. Give them time and space
If your parents refuse to understand you or are triggered by your decision, do not start arguing with them. Simply let the situation be and give them space to cool down. They might come back to you to talk about it; if not, you can talk to them when they are ready to listen and understand you.
10. Be patient
Conversations like these require a lot of patience and persistence. Your parents will probably taunt you, say mean things to you, or demean the whole idea of therapy. Do not feel discouraged because of it. Be patient and make them understand in their own language so they empathize with your side of the story.
11. Explain your reasons properly
Do not simply declare that you want therapy. Sit down with your parents and explain the reasons for your decision properly. Answer their every question, and make sure they do not take unnecessary stress because they do not know enough about this topic.
12. Ask your therapist for guidance
If you are not able to start the conversation or feel anxious to open up about this, ask your therapist how to start this topic before them. Your therapist will be able to help you with some good tips and will make sure to give you guidance on how to talk to a generation your parents belong to.
13. Bring a third party whom your parents listen
You can try bringing in a third party that will smooth the conversation with your parents, like your elder sister, uncle, or aunt. Bringing in a third party, especially if they belong to your parent’s generation, will help your parents understand things in their own language.
14. Start with “I” statements
Begin the conversation with “I” statements rather than “you” statements, as the former highlight your feelings and emotions instead of making the other person feel at a place of accusation.
15. Ask them if they are concerned about anything
Your parents might not say anything but may have a lot of thoughts and questions running through their heads. So it is important that you sternly ask them to share whatever they are thinking or feeling, as Indian parents have a tendency to overthink and not share stuff. This can further have an adverse affect on their health, so make sure you ask them and make them feel at ease about everything.
16. Open up about your struggles
If your parents are having a hard time understanding things, open up about your struggles. It might shock them or make them feel concerned for you, but when you become raw and talk to them like an adult and not as their child, they will try to understand your side and why you wish to take therapy.
17. Seek professional help
If you are not ready to confront your parents but still wish to tell them, take them to see your therapist, where your therapist can help them understand the whole situation. It's not like you wouldn’t say anything; however, your therapist will set a base for you, which might make it easier for your parents to understand everything.
These are some of the things you can try to tell parents you need therapy. The main thing to remember is that it might take them time to understand as their generation and our generation are quite different, so letting them have that time is equally important from your end so they are able to comprehend the situation in the right manner.
Some Commonly Asked Questions
While telling your parents that you need therapy is one thing, having the answers to their difficult questions is another. So there might be a time when you do not know everything and your parents are against the idea of therapy, so here are some commonly asked questions that might help you understand how to ask your parents for therapy.
1. Can I suggest attending therapy together with my parents?
Yes, definitely. You can suggest attending therapy together with your parents but before that, it is important that you ask your therapist about this, as every therapist has their own rules and guidelines. They will probably agree but it is important to ask them about this.
However, this move will help your parents understand why you decided on taking therapy and how it will improve you in the long run.
2. What if my parents are afraid of therapy?
If your parents are scared of therapy, it is important to approach this topic with empathy and care. It might be easy for you to understand that therapy is a normal thing, but in their heads, therapy is still a big, stereotypical thing.
So talk to them in their language and make them understand the intricacies of therapy and how it is a means of navigating through life’s difficulties and finding answers for yourself. They might not understand it instantly, but listening to this will give them a sense of relief.
3. What if my parents think therapy is unnecessary or a sign of weakness?
If your parents believe therapy is unnecessary or a sign of weakness, it is important that you talk to them about it responsibly and without being rude about it. You need to understand that they belong to a different generation where seeking therapy was not considered a normal thing.
So rather than assuming they should know what therapy is and should be okay with it, make them understand it in a polite and positive way.
4. What if my parents don’t believe I need therapy?
It can be difficult to digest that your parents believe that you do not need therapy. However, do not lose hope or fight with them because of this. Give them space and time to understand your situation and probably talk to them when they are in the right headspace to understand.
If not, you can always suggest they go to therapy with you and see how it works so that they are able to understand the inner workings of therapy.
5. Is therapy good for anyone?
Yes, anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy. There are no restrictions as to who should take therapy and who shouldn’t. Even if you feel that you need therapy to understand a small problem in your life, you can. Therapy is simply a tool to understand yourself and navigate through life challenges that seem out of your control.
A Word From Now&Me
If you are not able to understand how to ask your parents for therapy, connect with Now&Me experts and learn how to talk to them in a proper manner. The experts at Now&Me always make sure to provide you with the right guidance and support while keeping your information confidential and secure.
And if you wish to simply ask fellow humans how do I tell my parents I need therapy, you can become a part of the Now&Me community and talk to a bunch of like-minded people who, like you, are also on a journey to self-discovery.
So, download the app and simply start engaging with therapists and a well-built community to understand how to ask parents for therapy in the right way.
How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy: 17 Helpful Tips. Published July 2023. https://www.marriage.com/advice/mental-health/how-to-tell-your-parents-you-need-therapy/
How to Tell Your Parents You Need Therapy. Published july 2022. https://www.verywellfamily.com/talking-to-your-parents-about-therapy-5112574
Now&Me articles are written by experienced mental health contributors and are purely based on scientific research and evidence-based practices, which are thoroughly reviewed by experts, including therapists and psychologists with various specialties, to ensure accuracy and alignment with current industry standards.
However, it is important to note that the information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individual circumstances vary, and it is advisable to consult with a qualified mental health professional for personalized advice and guidance.