When Your Child Needs Therapy: Tips for Breaking the News and Smoothing the Way

By Kate Scharff, MSW

If you’ve decided to take your child to a therapist you’re understandably anxious about how he or she will react. Will they become angry or defensive? Will they worry that you see them damaged (so in need of “fixing”) or at-fault (so deserving of punishment)? Perhaps they’ll be confused at the idea– wondering what it is or what it’s for?

It’s counterintuitive, but in my experience children often have less trouble understanding the
“what” and “why” of therapy than their parents do, and have less concern for any potential stigmatizing effects of being in treatment. Still, there are better and worse ways to break the news to your child that you think they need help, and better and worse ways to ensure their success in once they’re there. Here are some tips for a smoother experience:


Kate Scharff, LCSW-C, LICSW

Telephone: 301-641-3211 Fax: 202-480-2169

Email: katescharff@katescharff.com

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