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Will my therapist tell my parents everything I share in therapy?

This is a common question that teenagers have for their therapists. Technically, if you are younger than 16, you are considered a "minor", which means your parents are allowed to know the information you share with me. 

However, I do think it would be silly if, after every time I met with my teenage client, I would immediately call their parent and say "Guess what your kid just told me in therapy?!" That would just be WRONG on SO many levels. Wouldn't it??

Firstly, if I was just going to share all the information you tell me with your parent, then you might as well just tell your parent yourself - what would be the point of therapy?

Secondly, the whole idea of having a therapist is that you can have a safe and private place to share things that you may not be comfortable sharing elsewhere. 

So here's how I deal with this question:

1. There are some NON-NEGOTIABLES. If I feel like my client may be in a dangerous situation, I absolutely MUST share whatever information their parent needs to know in order to keep that client safe. We can talk more about what this might look like.

2. Before I start working with my teenage client, I will discuss with them and their parents the limits of what I will and will not share. Most of the time, if there is no issue of safety, I don't need to share the information my client tells me, as long as their parents are cool with that.


And guess what? Most of the time, parents really are okay with it. They want their child to talk to someone, and they don't feel like they need to know everything.

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