The idea of going to therapy can be something that teenagers may not feel they need. Even if trauma or personal issues have set them off the course you know they should be on, it can be hard for a teenager to comply with a parent's wishes and do what's "right" for them. Be proactive to help your teenager get the most from counseling and use it as a tool to help them flourish.
Talk About Getting Comfortable with Change
Counseling can help instigate necessary and positive changes from within. As welcome as the changes may be, most people still struggle a bit with any changes. Talk to your teenager about the fact that changes may come and prepare for how you both may deal with any discomfort that brings.
Give Your Teen a Diary
Choose a diary with a lock and give it to your teenager. Make sure to communicate that it is their private diary where they can write anything they want about the counseling process. Keeping a diary can be very helpful and a vital part of doing the work of self-examination outside of the counseling sessions.
Schedule Sessions at a Convenient Time
A teenager is going to resist sessions if they conflict with things that they want to do, such as fun activities with friends that happen regularly. Directly after school may be the most convenient time for most, but be sure it is at a time that your teen isn't going to resist.
Although the therapist is sure to explain to your teenager that it's okay to ask questions, it doesn't hurt to remind your teenager that the therapist aims to help them. Questions are a welcome part of the counseling process.
Respect a Teen's Privacy
Don't ask a lot of questions about the teenager's experience with therapy. Although it's perfectly okay to ask how it went or encourage them to talk about any aspect of it they want with you, don't quiz them on the details of a therapy session. What is said between a counselor and a client is confidential, and the teenager shouldn't be expected to fill you in.
Finally, keep in mind that counseling sessions can be very helpful for your teenager. Even if a teen doesn't have any obvious issues or behavioral problems, the inevitable stress that comes with growing up and finding oneself can leave any teenager seeking clarity. Counseling can help a teenager deal with a variety of problems and be better equipped to make smart choices because of an increased knowledge about themselves.
For more information, talk with a counselor or therapist, like one at Blue Spruce Counseling.