Talking to Your Teen About Going to a Psychiatrist

If you believe that your teenager can benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, then the next logical step is to convince your teen to consider it. Some teens appreciate the idea of seeing a professional talk about their problems because it proves that their parents care about them and are encouraging them to have a neutral and safe outlet.

However, other teenage kids resist psychiatric help. If your teen is one of these, you need to explain to them why talking to this adult stranger would help anything. Here are a few tips on how to get a positive conversation going:

How to Bring Up the Subject

Treat your child with respect to the way you broach the idea about going to a psychiatrist. Your initial approach will affect how your teen will react.

Avoid embarrassing your teen by coming from a place of compassion and empathy. Share your thoughts and concerns about why you think they could benefit from talking to someone who has a neutral perspective.

To avoid a negative reaction to the idea of seeing a psychiatrist, don’t use labels such as “strange” or “abnormal.” You can start by saying how every teenager goes through things, including yourself when you were a teen – and that “I’m concerned about the changes in your behavior.”

Be ready to talk about what you went through yourself, or what someone close to you or your teen went through at around their same age. Use examples of people who are upstanding and normal today.

Ask About Their Thoughts and Feelings

During the conversation, ask your teen about what they think of the idea. Make it an open-ended question, and tell them they can let you know later on. This shows that you value their input.

Your teenager may ask about confidentiality. You can tell the child that this is a discussion between you and the counselor and that the counselor will explain the confidentiality at the beginning of their conversation together.

Consider Telepsychiatry

Your teen may be reluctant about going to an actual psychiatrist’s office, but – like other kids who are all growing up with smartphones and the internet as part of the normal world – they may feel comfortable talking to a counselor via video chat. This is a good option to explore with your teen.

Once your teenager gets comfortable with seeing the psychiatrist through telepsychiatry, making the move to in-person counseling may be easier. Wait until you see this progress before bringing up this idea, though. Remain open to the idea of the child continuing to see the psychiatrist via video chat.

Psychiatrist in NYC and Southbury, CT

It is important to choose a psychiatrist who your teen can trust and feel comfortable with. Dr. Mark Stracks of Psy-Visions has years of experience in providing helpful mental health services to teenage patients. With his calm and comforting demeanor, and his way of relating to patients of all ages, your teen will feel at ease relatively quickly.

If you would like to schedule a psychiatric evaluation for your teen, call Dr. Stracks’ office in New York at (718) 887-2918 or in Connecticut at (203) 405-1745, or fill out our online form to send a confidential message to Dr. Stracks.

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