As parents, we are able to identify the moment when it is necessary or could be beneficial for our children to see an emotional and mental health specialist. However, it is often difficult to communicate it, as we are still full of various information about the therapy, mostly wrong, where it is considered as something bad. It is usually related to the idea that those who come to do so because they cannot solve their problems on their own, which indicates little capacity, with the fact that the family does not approve of what they do, as if whoever came had something wrong, and this issue does not could be more wrong.
Actually communicating to our kid a fact like this is not the real problem; what is difficult is to give it a pleasant meaning. Once we achieve this, working as a team will be easier. In this article, we share some steps that could help you explain to your child that he is going to see a psychologist, but more importantly, that will allow you to give a pleasant message and increase the possibility of receiving a positive response.
1. Find out what they think
This is probably the step that takes the most time because it is time to start a long talk about what you have heard about the psychologist, the experiences that have been shared with you, all the taboos that exist around this.
This talk can take place in a single talk or in several small ones.
The idea is that you can also identify what their position is from the outside, without even introducing personal issues.
2. Establish a meaning about going to therapy
Once you have already identified the reasons why he would not come if he has any (because there is also a possibility that he will surprise you and even ask you at that moment). In case he is still not so convinced, you will need the information to be able to debate his opinions with other points of view.
Try not to impose your point of view, but rather position yourself from the outside, with the information you have and the facts you want to share with your child. For this step, the child or adolescent could already notice your intentions, so it is possible that he begins to ask questions about your interest in the subject.
Many times looking closely at the example of the adult can make things easier, so if possible you can talk about experiences that you know. Tell him that you’ve thought about the possibility of him coming, but you wanted to hear it first. Taking into account his point of view is what will give you the opportunity to dialogue.
3. What would you like to work on?
Continuing with this line of listening, it is time to consider the space of therapy as an opportunity to work on what he or she wants. Regardless of what you want me to work on. The important thing is that you can use that space for your well-being. You can ask what he would like and also ask him to think about it alone. Note that from here you begin to give him/her privacy. Position yourself as a support and not as someone who forces it.
4. Share your concerns and wishes.
Ask her if she would like to hear the reasons why you considered supporting him in this step.
This part can be added to the previous one, it is possible that they agree on the points that they believe should be addressed in the session. Then you can express it if you are prudent, but remember to always maintain a space of respect, that your words are clear and do not lend themselves to misinterpretation.
Never show those areas of opportunity as something that devalues or is horrible. Even if it is possible, talk about the issues from the outside, do not go back to examples of things that you know your child did or lived through or of people he or she appreciates, try to go back to it from a neutral point of view, so the conversation will be more fluid. This step is optional, many times it is resumed over time or it is not essential.
5. Establish an agreement
Once you’ve discussed the pros and looked at the possibility, talk about his fears and how you could help him. Many adolescents, especially, fear that the psychologist will reveal information to the parents; that is another myth since professional secrecy prevents it unless it is clear that his integrity is at risk.
Commit to giving them privacy, respecting their process, and being unconditionally supportive. Ask that he also make some agreement, but with himself, to try to use that space for his emotional and personal improvement.
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