Techniques for Encouraging Teenagers to Engage in Counseling

Adolescence can be a challenging time for both teenagers and their parents. As exciting as this time is in their lives, it can also be confusing and frustrating as teens navigate through physical, emotional, and social changes. While some teens may have a relatively easy time coping with these changes, others struggle and need additional support. Counseling can provide this support, however getting your teenager to engage in counseling can be an uphill battle. When an individual is not engaged in their therapy, they will not experience the maximum benefits from their sessions.

At BE Psychology, we work with teens from all different backgrounds and orientations to help them live their best lives. Let’s look at some of the techniques that can be used to encourage teenagers to engage in counseling.

Listen to Your Child

Start by listening to your child. What are their reservations about therapy? Why don’t they want to go? Perhaps they are concerned their therapist will tell you what they talk about in their sessions. Maybe they are worried about what others will think if they attend therapy. Or maybe they are worried it will interfere with their routine or schedule. Once you know why they are reluctant to start counseling you can move forward with a plan to encourage them to go. 

Normalize Counseling

One of the first things parents and caregivers can do to encourage their teens to engage in counseling is to normalize it. Many teens may have misconceptions about counseling, viewing it as a sign of weakness or something only “crazy” people do. It’s important to educate teens about what counseling is and what it can offer. It’s also important to recognize seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Parents and caregivers can play a key role in normalizing counseling by being open and honest about their own experiences with counseling and sharing why they found it helpful. They can also encourage their teen to talk to their friends who have gone to counseling and ask about their experiences. By normalizing counseling, parents can help remove the stigma that may be preventing their teenager from seeking help.

Empower Teens 

Many teens feel like they are being forced into therapy. Rather than forcing them to go to counseling, we suggest providing information and resources about counseling to empower your teen to decide if therapy is something they want to do. Allowing the teenager to make their own decision can increase their motivation to engage in counseling and help them feel more in control of the process. 

Make Counseling Accessible & Convenient

Between academics, sports, clubs, social engagements, and other activities, teenagers are busy. It’s important to make therapy as accessible and convenient as possible. Parents and caregivers can help by finding a counselor who is conveniently located and offers flexible appointment times. You can also help with transportation to and from counseling appointments. Not only will this ensure they make their appointments, but it will provide some quality time to talk to your child if they feel like discussing their sessions. By making counseling accessible and convenient, parents can help increase the likelihood their teenager will actively participate in counseling.

encouraging teenagers to engage in counseling

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for encouraging behavior change. Parents can use positive reinforcement to encourage their child to engage in therapy by rewarding them for their efforts. For example, they can offer to take their teenager out for a special outing or treat after their counseling session, or they can provide words of encouragement and support. Positive reinforcement can help increase the teenager’s motivation to engage in counseling and can also help them feel more positive about the experience.

Provide Information About the Benefits of Counseling

Many teenagers may be resistant to counseling because they don’t understand the benefits. Parents can help by providing information about the benefits of counseling, such as improved communication skills, increased self-awareness, and reduced stress and anxiety. By educating their teenager about the benefits of counseling, parents can help increase their motivation to engage in counseling and help them understand why it can be helpful.

Be Supportive & Encouraging

It’s essential for parents to be supportive and encouraging throughout the therapy process. This can include listening to their teenager’s concerns and being available to talk when they need to. Parents can also encourage their teenager to attend counseling by reminding them of the benefits and the positive changes they can hope to achieve in counseling. By being supportive and encouraging, parents can help increase their teenager’s motivation to engage in counseling and can also help them feel more positive about the experience.

Therapy for Teenagers with BE Psychology

If your teenager has been experiencing life-altering challenges, such as the death of a family member, bullying, trauma, or they just need help navigating life, adolescent therapy can help. The professionals at BE Psychology understand the importance of creating a welcoming, judgment-free environment where our clients feel safe to discuss their feelings, concerns, and relationship challenges. 

To learn more, contact a member of our team today

reem shaheen counseling psychologist

Reem Shaheen – LMHC