If you live in California, Idaho, Oregon or Washington State and you are at least 16 years old, you may request a free consultation without your parent having to sign anything. During the consultation a Joon clinician will speak with you about situations where we will need to engage your parents, like if you want your parents to pay for therapy, or if we need their help to keep you safe.
Different states have different laws when it comes to seeking therapy as a minor. In many states, if you're under the age of 18, you'll need a parent or guardian's permission. This is because in order to provide any kind of treatment - medical or psychological - a patient’s consent must be obtained. If you are under the legal age to give consent as an adult in your state, then you’ll need a parent or guardian's signature. In Washington State, minors may receive mental health treatment if they are 13 years or older without the consent of a parent or guardian.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous talking about these topics, even with your parents. Here are a few ideas for making the topic more approachable:
When you talk to your parents, keep it simple, at least at first. You might start by telling your parents how you are feeling, what you would like help with, and that you think therapy might be the right tool to get you there. You can even use the following script if it makes it easier:
“Mom/Dad, I’ve been feeling really (anxious, worried, sad, angry, self-conscious) for the last __ months, and it’s been making (school, homework, getting along with friends/family, sports) super hard for me. I’ve tried a bunch of things to make it better, but I would like to see if going to a therapist could help."
If you have a good relationship with a teacher or your doctor, they can be a great resource for any questions you have that aren’t answered here, or to practice asking for help!
Remember that these are hard topics for everyone to talk about, but that doesn't make it wrong to bring them up. Even if it feels scary or uncomfortable, if you feel that you need help or support, talking to your parents is the right thing to do. You've got this!
During a parent check-in, your therapist will provide a general overview of the kinds of skills you’ve been working on together but will not provide any specific details that you’ve shared with him/her. For example, if you’ve been talking with your therapist about how to cope with parental pressure regarding schoolwork, your therapist might say generally that you’ve been working on coping skills and motivation for schoolwork. You can absolutely ask your therapist not to share specific information with your parent and, assuming that information isn’t about any immediate risk to your safety, your therapist will honor your privacy and not discuss those topics with your parents.
Yes! In Washington State, TeenLink offers phone, text and chat support. Their teen volunteers are trained to listen to your concerns and talk with you about whatever’s on your mind – bullying, drug and alcohol concerns, relationships, stress, depression or any other issues you’re facing. Calls and chats are confidential. Their phone number is 1.866.TEENLINK (833.6546).
Here are some helpful steps:
This article, "How do I support my friend" offers helpful suggestions as well.