Ask Jigsaw: My father doesn’t want me to get counselling

Ask Jigsaw: My father doesn’t want me to get counselling

Thursday, 16 July 2020

I have been dealing with a few things and considered receiving help for them by the means of therapy or counselling, but when I brought it up to my father, I didn’t get the response I wanted and he questioned why I’d rather bring up my problems with a stranger rather than him.

am I selfish for not getting the response I want, and how should I reason with him, if I should at all? I feel as if Jigsaw could help a lot, but I don’t know how to explain it to him. I feel horrible about asking behind his back, but I feel as if it’s the only thing I can do. Feel free to ignore this, it’s not that important compared to anything else you receive.

And thank you for doing your job, in advance. For any Clinician who hopefully sees this, you save lives and mean a lot. It’s not much coming from someone with a letter for their username and words on a screen for their thoughts, but I hope it means something.


Hi J,

Thank you for getting in touch, and for your lovely comments. It was brave of you to bring up how you have been feeling with your father and ask for help. I’m sorry you didn’t get the response you were hoping for.

Jigsaw Clinician
It is normal to want to increase our independence.

As we develop through our teens and into our twenties, it is normal to want to increase our independence. This can mean that we want to be able to find ways to work through problems ourselves. We may not confide in parents as much as we used to. For parents, this development and desire for independence can be difficult. They may feel pushed away or worry that they are not as important in the lives of their children as they once were.

Jigsaw Clinician
Try to explain your needs to your father while reassuring him that he is important to you.

Communicating your needs

It is not selfish to look for support outside of the family environment. There may be some things that you don’t feel comfortable or ready to talk to parents about. Sometimes it is helpful to speak to someone who is not emotionally invested in your life and who can be more objective. It can also be useful to have a regular space and time set aside to work on your mental health with someone.

Whatever your reason for wanting to access support, perhaps you could try to explain this to your father while reassuring him that he is important to you. Acknowledge that he wants to be there for you and you appreciate that. Unfortunately, being assertive in communicating your needs doesn’t always guarantee the response that you want, but it is important to be as clear as you can in what you are saying. You can read more about assertive communication here.

If you are under 18, you will need parental consent to access a service. Perhaps you could invite you father to come to your first session so that he can ask questions about the service and how it operates?

Well done for paying attention to your mental health and identifying what you need. I hope that you continue to maintain an open dialogue with your father and that you can access the right support for you.

Best wishes,

Aisling, Jigsaw Clinician.

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