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How do I persuade teen to try counselling?

(3 Posts)
madwomanbackintheattic Wed 13-Apr-16 19:52:56

X (16) is moving in with us this week after a hard couple of years. Her mum is an alcoholic with some mental health issues and has made several suicide attempts, and is due out of this rehab (again) at the end of the week. X doesn't feel that she can live with her mum at the moment (mum is emotionally abusive when drinking, and X has found her after several of the suicide attempts - Her home life is a rollercoaster).
Clearly there are two people that need support - mum and X. Mum has a very supportive partner (he has also been the stabilizing force for X and they are close - he has effectively fathered her for 9 years) and is now 'in the system', although there seems to be no desire at all for the system to engage with the family. (I am boggled at this, but that's another thread)
I am absolutely fine with X being here - I am hoping that in the longer term, mum will get the support she needs and their relationship can be rehabilitated, and X can go home, but I do understand that she she is exhausted from being on the emotional treadmill and wants to concentrate on her school work. I am not sure that ignoring the situation entirely is healthy, though...
Any ideas how I can persuade her that it would be a really good idea for her to talk through this entire situation with someone unconnected?
<so as not to drip feed - X is a friend of dd1 and they have one more year at school after this one. Both are 100% committed to schooling, good students, and considering which universities to attend. Even dd1 recognizes that X uses study as an escape from her life, though. I am close friends with X's mum, but it is undeniable that she is very unwell and has put her dd through hell>
Oh, and X was adopted as a tiny, her mum and dad split up, and dad has spent the last two years refusing to take her (while mum was being emotionally abusive). So I am also worried about all sorts of abandonment issues - hard enough for a teen to feel unwanted, but for an adopted teen, I can't even imagine...
X does not want to talk about anything. She wants to immerse herself in her school work and then get the hell out to university and be free of the drama. Can this work? I just want to try and do the best for her and it doesn't sound healthy to me...
I wasn't sure which topic to put this in - it seems to cover everything...

Clara66 Wed 13-Apr-16 21:56:18

Hi Madwoman, you sound an amazing person!

I don't have experience of such a situation, but my dd spent many months suffering from depression. She was very uncomfortable talking to strangers about her problems and it just made her angry and ill. She stopped counselling in the end as she refused to engage and, to be honest, I feel she started to recover once people stopped telling her to talk about her feelings.

From our experience, although very different, I'm not sure whether X will benefit from counselling if she doesn't want to engage. I agree with you that it makes sense that she would benefit from it, but not if it makes her unhappy. Perhaps given time she will feel ready to talk to someone....

Good luck with everything.

I think you may find more response to your post if you put it in the parents of teenagers section.


madwomanbackintheattic Wed 13-Apr-16 23:00:26

Thanks Clara - it's such a conundrum and I don't want to force her into anything (nor can I, really). I'll try parenting teens board - really wasn't sure where would get most traffic, or be most likely to offer suggestions. I think we are really just providing a safe space, but I don't want to exacerbate anything iykwim...

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