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PSP Association
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Advice on Counseling Adolescents Requested


I recently wrote about my wife being DXd with PSP. She is young, and we have two children still in High School. Many of you have advised that I and the children see a therapist and get some counseling. I am planning to do this for myself, and I have approached the kids about it, but neither seem interested, and my 14 year old daughter was dead set against it.

I am wondering if I should push the issue and try to force them to go? Or back off and lead by example. I know this must be devastating for them, but so far, they are being quite reticent. Any advice or experiences any of you can share would be greatly appreciated.

10 Replies

Glad to hear you are going yourself.

In UK there are counselling services in school which they could access as they need. They need to know its available when they are ready and is confidential. I find the young nowadays are very aware.

I don't believe you can " make " anyone talk until they are ready. They are more likely to resist more. Just let them know you find it helpful and leave them to work through it in their own way.

My grand children reacted in very different ways. But they think, as he is the oldest in the family, its more normal for him to be dying. They found the stages when he was almost ok but weaker more difficult to understand. My heart goes out to you and your girls. I hope you can navigate it. Its a nightmare.

Let us know how you progress.

Love from Jean xx


Thank you Jean!


I agree with Jean, my children are all grown up, but grandchildren are 17 down to 6, they are very wary of George, when he coughs, they look very frightened. I think your children will let you know when they are ready. Yvonne x


If you try to force the kids to see a therapist nothing will come of it, they'll just shut down and not say a thing. Your going may "open the door" for them to at least entertain the idea. My son knows what is happening with Grandpa since Grandpa lives with us. I don't hide anything from him but I also tell him if he needs to talk about it and feels uncomfortable talking to me there are councilors at school he can meet with or I can get him one-on-one time with Dad's psychologist, one benefit of being in the VA system.



My son was 15 years when his father was finally diagnosed With PSP i encouraged him to see the school vounsellor but he did not take this up until he was 18. We have always talked openly about PSP being life limiting and the dreadful personality changes his father has had. This year he attended PSP support group meeting and found this helpful he seems more able to articulate his questions since then.

My son talks very openly about his fathers illness and his worries about me with my sister and a good friend of mine and I try to ensure they have regular contact

You can take a horse to water but can't make it drink. Counselling is not the only option. Talk to school there may be a school nurse or teacher that could offer support . Family and friends can be a huge support too.

Love Tippy


Hi. My husband has psp and our children are aged 11 and 13.

I felt they needed support so I contacted their schools (One in primary School and one in Secondary). Both schools offered counselling. They have both only seen the counsellors once since husbands diagnosis ( 5 months ago, aged 41).. But they at least know it is there to access should they feel the need. It is there ready in place. This is a great comfort to them and us.

I hope this helps.



These are great suggestions. Thank you all for your input. Both children are now in secondary school, and I will be meeting with their teachers and advisors in a few weeks. I will inquire regarding counseling at that time. Thank you all for your valuable insight.

1 like

Hi Dickwin

Counselling can seem scary. Folk often think their darkest secrets will be exposed and they will be left 'undefended' and shamed. Which of course does not happen because it should not be a heavy probing exercise in this sort of situation. Its important they know that they are in control of the session and that its OK for them to say, "I don't want to talk about that at this time."

You might want to lead by example. You might want to tell them a little about the process, not the content.

For example one model which makes sense to people is this: We live our life like writing a story. Our life has chapters some are good and some are more difficult. We tell our story to ourselves and try and make it make sense. Sometimes we get stuck. We don't know what to do, what to write, feelings can be too strong and they can be contradictory. Telling someone else that part of the story can help us get those feelings into some sort of order, make sense of them and being less blocked up we can continue writing our story and acting on our clearer thoughts and feelings in a meaningful way.

If they know what it is they will come to it when they are ready.

I'm shooting in the dark here, but I do hope this helps a little.

Its a tough one for you with everything else.





Thank you. These are great points and I don't think you are shooting in the dark at all. My daughter, who seems very opposed to counseling, used both these objections (I don't want to talk about it and what's the point). You have provided me with some more meaningful responses than I could come up with. All I had was a problem shared is a problem cut in half, and that it might help to unburden herself and prepare for what is coming.

I truly appreciate your advice.



1 like

You are most welcome Dickwin.

You will find a way.

Meanwhile I do hope you will post here again.

Strength to you.



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