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Supporting a Child Who Doesn't Want to Go to Therapy: Helpful Tips

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Therapy can be a powerful tool for children to navigate challenges, develop coping skills, and promote mental well-being. However, not every child feels eager or comfortable about attending therapy sessions. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and open communication. In this blog post, we will provide you with valuable tips on how to support a child who doesn't want to go to therapy and help them recognize the potential benefits of therapy.


1. Foster Open and Honest Communication:

Create a safe and non-judgmental space for your child to express their feelings about therapy. Encourage them to share their concerns, fears, or reasons for not wanting to go. Listen actively, validate their emotions, and avoid dismissing their thoughts. Show empathy and understanding while explaining the potential benefits of therapy and how it can help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals.


2. Address Misconceptions and Provide Information:

Children may have misconceptions or misunderstandings about therapy. Take the time to explain what therapy entails in an age-appropriate manner. Discuss how therapists are trained professionals who provide a supportive and confidential environment to help children navigate their emotions, build resilience, and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Clarifying any misconceptions can alleviate fears and create a sense of trust.


3. Involve the Child in the Decision-Making Process:

Empower your child by involving them in the decision-making process regarding therapy. Ask for their input on selecting a therapist or the type of therapy they might prefer. By giving them a sense of agency and ownership, they may feel more motivated and engaged in the therapy process. Collaboratively explore the available options and find a therapist who resonates with your child's needs and preferences.


4. Highlight the Benefits and Real-Life Examples:

Share stories or examples of individuals, including children, who have benefited from therapy. Discuss how therapy has helped others overcome challenges, manage emotions, and improve their overall well-being. Highlight the positive outcomes and growth that can occur through therapy. This can help your child see therapy as a valuable resource and source of support.


5. Explore Alternatives and Offer Supportive Resources:

If your child continues to resist traditional therapy, explore alternative therapeutic approaches or activities that align with their interests and needs. This could include art therapy, music therapy, nature-based therapy, or group activities focused on social-emotional development. Explore books, websites, or videos that provide age-appropriate information and support on topics related to their struggles. Offering alternative options can make therapy feel less intimidating and more approachable.


Supporting a child who doesn't want to go to therapy requires patience, understanding, and open communication. By fostering a safe and supportive environment, addressing misconceptions, involving the child in decision-making, highlighting the benefits, and exploring alternative options, you can help your child recognize the value of therapy. Remember that each child is unique, and it may take time for them to embrace the idea of therapy. Be patient, be their advocate, and offer unwavering support as they embark on their journey towards emotional well-being.

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