The typical mood swings and hardships of adolescence or emerging adulthood can sometimes make it difficult to know if this is typical of the developmental period or if something is wrong and needs to be addressed by a professional. This video gives you two things to consider before deciding to have your child see a therapist.

Key Takeaways

There are two general aspects to consider when thinking about whether or not your child needs therapy:

  1. Is the issue actually distressing my teen/emerging adult?
  2. Is the issue significantly interfering with my teen/emerging adult’s ability to function in everyday life.

The decision to enter into therapy is a very personal one. If your teen or emerging adult is really unmotivated to see a therapist, it may not be the best decision to “force” them into going. It may turn your child off to therapy in general, hindering them from seeking out help in the future. Also, it may put undue strain on your relationship with your child. Additionally, if your teen or emerging adult is completely unmotivated, therapy will either be ineffective, less effective, or take longer to be effective. (Of course, if there are safety concerns, this is a different story.)

That being said, there are some psychologists and therapists that are skilled in helping clients become more open to the therapy process. Unfortunately, this is not a skill every psychologist or therapist has. So, please be mindful of this if you do decide to send your child to therapy if they’re very unmotivated or against seeing someone.


Have a teen or emerging adult you think needs therapy but might not be motivated? Visit our contact page to send our adolescent specialist, Dr. Jenifer Goldman, a message or schedule a free 20 minute consultation to see how she can help. She works with numerous “mildly” motivated or seemingly unmotivated teens and emerging adults.