Interact Journal Integrative Ideas for the Process-Oriented Psychotherapist

Categories Supervision Dialogs

On telling his parents

He has done things such as allowing himself, while high on marijuana, to be driven around closed up in the trunk of a friend’s car. He plans to have a big party when his parents go out of town next week and I’m thinking of telling the parents. Should I?

If he told you he was not going to do his homework next Tuesday, would you tell his parents?


If he told you he was going to lie down on the railroad tracks to see how close the train could come, would you tell his parents?

Yes, of course. I see. It’s about how much danger he is in.

The challenge here is to honor yourself, act responsibly to protect him and not violate confidentiality unless he is a danger to himself or others. Clearly this boy has not always taken responsibility for protecting himself.

  • Start by telling him straight out that you are concerned about his safety and that you are considering telling his parents about this party.
    “I am really concerned that (something extreme) might happen. Given your history of forgetting to protect yourself adequately, I believe you may be in jeopardy. If you won’t protect yourself, someone else needs to. I’ve pretty much made the decision to tell your parents about the party.
    What’s your response to that?”
  • With a youngster who had not previously acted out in such an extreme manner, you might add,
    “One thing you can do that might prevent my including your parents is to convince me, right now, that you will take responsibility this weekend and protect yourself.”
    And then be difficult to convince.

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