Should I make my son go to therapy?
It’s never an easy decision to make.
Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer for you on whether you should or should not make your son go to therapy. I think it very much depends on the situation. If you’re concerned about self harm or suicide, then the answer is pretty clear; yes. (1800-273-8255 is the suicide hotline)
How it happens
Often times the situation plays out like this: concerned parents see some red flags, discussions are had with the other parent, then they decide to wait and see what happens. Weeks later or sometimes years later the parents see more red flags and this time they’re a little more scary. Parents talk about the idea of therapy with each other and bring it up to their son, thinking that he might be interested. And in some cases they are met with overwhelming defiance and opposition. Then the new discussion becomes “SHOULD I make my son go to therapy if he doesn’t want to go?” instead of asking does he NEED to go to therapy?.
All reasonable questions and concerns.
I get it. The non-therapist in me understands some of the tensions and questions that come with the idea of therapy. Questions like: What if he hates going and it’s a fight to make him go every time? What if therapy causes even more tension in the family? What if he tries to convince the therapist that we’re bad parents? Or what if it’s not really a big deal and we’re just overreacting? Can he even get better if we force him to go? What if he doesn’t say anything the whole time and we have to pay for the session?
I could answer each one of those scenarios for you, but that would make for a very long blog post. The reality is that what most often happens is that he comes in to see me for a session and usually realizes it’s not that bad, he actually enjoys it and we talk about the presenting issue or some combination of the three.
Your son wants to be understood
In short, I think usually teenage boys usually need a little push. But eventually, if they really don’t like therapy or feel like it’s not helping, then they won’t continue coming. More often then not though, they’ll keep coming because they want to be understood, just like all people want to be understood. And often times, teens also want to understand themselves as well.
If you are ready to make the next step, you can schedule a free 15 minute phone call by clicking here.