by Becca Adleberg, LPC

Starting therapy is a big step for both children and parents alike. It’s a journey toward better emotional well-being, but we know it can feel intimidating to get started. As caregivers, you play a significant role in helping your child understand and feel comfortable about their first therapy session. We at Therapy for Kids are here to guide you through discussing therapy with your child and setting the stage for a positive experience!

Much like your child goes to the doctor when they feel under the weather, it can be helpful to explain that therapy is a place to go when they feel emotionally unwell. The conversation you choose to have will differ depending on your child’s age and level of understanding.

Keep the explanation simple with younger children (10 and under). Therapy is a place to play and talk with a trusted adult who wants to help with big feelings. An older child (10+) will be more likely to appreciate transparency in the conversation. Be honest about the reasons you feel it could be beneficial. Have you noticed they have been spending more time alone? Address the reasons you think talking to someone could be helpful.

For all ages, emphasize that therapy is a common and ordinary tool people use. If you feel comfortable sharing your experiences with treatment, now would be a great time to do so. Normalize the experience much like you would going to the doctor.

It is natural for your child to express fears or concerns about therapy. Validate their feelings and reassure them that these feelings are normal. Give them more information about their therapist and how you anticipate the first session will go. You can share where they are going, the therapist’s name, and that you will also be present! Reassure them your child that what they share in therapy is private and confidential; the therapist will only share information with them if necessary.

If your child still seems resistant, that’s okay, too. It’s normal for them to express that they don’t feel they need therapy or that it won’t help. Encourage them to try it, and know the therapist is there to assess if they think therapy is the right fit!

Talking to your child about their first therapy session can be awkward, but it is essential in normalizing their experience. By approaching this conversation with openness, honesty, and empathy, you can help alleviate their initial anxieties. Remember that therapy is a valuable resource for children and can empower them to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and strength.


Becca works with kids, adolescents, and parents. To learn more about Becca, visit her profile here. Ready to get started? Fill out our booking form here and we will match you with the right therapist for your child or family.

How to Talk to Your Child About Therapy

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