A: Let me begin by saying that I think you are putting way too much energy into keeping these issues from your parents; energy that you could be putting into getting better. What would be so bad about your parents knowing that you have struggled with depression? I can understand that you don’t want them to know about the self-harm, but chances are that it is related to the depression, too.
Each therapist may handle the lines of disclosure between a parent and teen differently. Although, in most states, there are some basic laws and guidelines that must be followed, such as disclosing if someone is at risk of harming themselves or others. But again, the definition of self-harm typically means suicide, not self-harm such as minor cutting.
I suggest that you ask your parents to take you back to the therapist you saw before or a new therapist, if you prefer. Use any reason you are comfortable with to get there, but once in therapy, ask the therapist about their policies of disclosing information to parents. You are 17 (almost an adult) so most therapists would be willing to work with you on some things without full parental knowledge as long as you are truly not in danger. The therapist can help you decide what is important enough to tell your parents. However, there may be reasons beyond your control that would lead to disclosing more to them, such as needing a medication evaluation.
Your parents love you and want what is best for you. You don’t have to suffer in silence. They may handle all this much better than you realize, but you won’t know if you don’t give them that chance.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts