The Accessibility of Therapy

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I fully believe that I need therapy. I’m 16, nearly 17, and I live in a bad family situation. I probably don’t need therapy for that, but I have been grappling with other issues, and mental illness runs in my family. I think it would benefit me to at least try therapy. The issue is however, that my dad is not a good person. He’s emotionally abusive, to me and my mom. I’m fine because I’m strong willed and have lived with it less. But my mom, I’m worried about her. I think she’d benefit too, but I wouldn’t be able to convince her to go. The issue is, with me however, is that my mom gets upset very easily, and bringing up that I want therapy upsets her, because she thinks it’s her fault, and I can’t stand to see her so upset. My dad thinks I’m crazy (he thinks everyone is crazy), so this would just be more proof for him. He says he wants me to go to therapy, but I know that just means he wants someone to figure out whats wrong with me, even though he’s the source of the problem. Even if my dad agreeing to take me to and pay for therapy, I doubt he actually would because my parents procrastinate. So, my question is, how do I get therapy if neither of my parents will take me and I don’t have money or a car? I could maybe wait the extra year and a few months until I’m 18, but I’m worried I will get worse. What should I do?

A. I believe it is very wise of you to consider therapy. Sometimes it can be difficult to know when professional help is required. You recognize there is a problem and know that assistance is necessary. You are on the right track.

I can understand the fact that you do not want to upset your mother by asking her to take you to therapy but it may be necessary. She may have fears and anxiety but the therapist will help her to see the situation more clearly. You can reassure her that you do not feel that she is to blame for your problems. It is possible that after you begin therapy the therapist could also help you to explain your position more clearly. This might help your mother to feel better. It might also be a clever way to bring her into counseling. It is not uncommon for a therapist to request regular meetings with the family members of his or her client. This is especially true when dealing with adolescents and young adults.

With regard to your father, your concern is that he will procrastinate. This may or may not be true. The only way to know is to try. If your father procrastinates, continually remind him of his agreement until he takes you to an appointment. You might be able to expedite this process by volunteering to search for therapists on your own. In addition, you could call various therapists and speak to them about your situation. They may have good advice for you regarding how to involve your parents in the counseling process.

If you are unsuccessful with the aforementioned ideas, you may also want to consider speaking to the counselor at school. School will be in session at the end of next month. If you have graduated high school (assuming you’ll be in college), you could seek help from the college counseling center. Most colleges have counseling centers on campus.

I hope you are able to receive counseling. As you recognize, the longer you wait to seek help the worse your situation may become. If you would like to begin searching for therapists, click the “find help” tab on the top of this page. Thanks for your question. I wish you well. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). The Accessibility of Therapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/07/18/the-accessibility-of-therapy/