My Teenage Son Refuses to See A Therapist. What Are My Options?

Finding help for your troubled teenage son via therapy can be met with acceptance or refusal. Some teen boys will welcome the opportunity to meet with a therapist, but that is not always the case. If you tried everything you know to do to convince your soon to go to therapy, you may feel like you’ve hit a brick wall.

If you are sure that your teen son has a mental health problem, behavior disorder, or a substance abuse problem, they need some kind of treatment to break away from these issues. So, what can you do when he says no to therapy?

Is Forcing Your Teenage Son to Go a Good Thing?

As the parent, you could very well physically drag your son to a therapist session. However, if you force your son into that meeting, how well will it really turn out? Anyone who feels forced into a situation is not going to accept it suddenly. He could simply sit there for the hour and not say a word.

They would be very unlikely to talk about their issues openly and honestly. Even the most skilled therapist cannot break down that wall. So, while you think you are doing the right thing, it could possibly be more harmful and cause your son to act out even more or completely stop communicating with you.

Can You Convince Your Son that Therapy Is Worth It?

If you know that your son needs treatment, you may think that convincing him that therapy is worth it will get him to go. You can plan for the conversation you want to have with him, laying out all the logical reasons why therapy will help his mood.

You may find that your son is embarrassed by his problems, making it hard for him to admit that he has any. While you can talk to him about why he shouldn’t feel shame, you may not be able to break through his misconceptions.

Having sound reasons why therapy is beneficial is certainly a good practice. You can even include him in finding a therapist. However, you still may be at an impasse after these conversations.

If your son doesn’t admit that he needs therapy and will commit to it, no amount of convincing conversation will change that. He may have a list of objections that he responds with like “I don’t need help” or “Therapy doesn’t help anyone.”

This resistance is something that happens to parents of troubled teen boys all the time. You can reframe the therapy experience many different ways and offer facts, but until he realizes that he needs help, forcing him to go to therapy isn’t going to help.

Can Your Pediatrician Help?

You may have already sought the help of your son’s pediatrician regarding his mental health. Your pediatrician, however, doesn’t necessarily have the skillset to deal with troubled youth. Your son’s doctor could recommend therapists and could talk to your soon about asking for help, but you can’t simply rely on him or her to get your son the treatment he needs.

So, what are your options?

Consider a Therapeutic Boarding School for Troubled Boys

When you have tried everything to get your son to work with a therapist, it may be time to find a program that removes him from his environment. A therapeutic boarding school for troubled boys could be the answer. In this type of treatment program, your son will be among peers that have similar problems, which could ease his shame and embarrassment.

Such a program is really a holistic approach to helping with emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues.

There are several advantages to sending your son to a therapeutic boarding school. A well-designed program focuses on three main areas:


You son will work with licensed therapists and counselors in individual and group therapy. In these settings, your son can work on problems related to ADHD, abuse, depression, trauma, anxiety, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. Consistent therapy in a new environment allows your soon to grow and heal.


In a boarding school for troubled boys, your son will learn and go to classes, each led by licensed teachers who have experience dealing with problem youth. In this type of setting, education plans can be customized to each student, helping them improve their grade level performance.


In addition to therapy and academics, teens need the opportunity to have fun and participate in physical activity. Physical activity is good for the brain and mood. Being outside for a hike or bike ride also gives them time to clear their head and think about improving their health.

Finding the Right Therapeutic Boarding School for Troubled Boys

If you have decided that a therapeutic boarding school for troubled boys is the best option for your teen that won’t commit to therapy, then you’ll want to do your research. Carefully investigate how the program works and what approach the school has for helping young boys.

Not all therapeutic schools for boys are the same. Some take a more authoritarian perspective to behavior change, which could cause your son to shut down any more. Instead, seek a place that focuses on love, acceptance, discipline, and accountability.

Look for things like their success rate and parent testimonials. You also want to make sure the school is licensed and in good standing.

At Liahona Academy, our mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for boys to develop the mental, emotional, and physical skills necessary to be a productive and contributing member of society. We’ve helped thousands of families since we opened in 2001. We are committed to being a support system to enable teenage boys to change their lives and find fulfillment and happiness.

Remember, you aren’t alone in your struggle to help your son, we’re here to help. If you’d like to learn more about our program and how to enroll your soon, we invite you to contact us today.

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