Alex's Answer

Should I tell my psychologist that I self-harm when I don’t want my parents to know?

Your Question

Should I tell my psychologist i self harm, it’s effecting my life a lot but I don’t want my parents to know


Hi there, 

Thank you for getting in contact with the Ask Alex service. We’re glad you felt able to reach out to us as it’s important to be able to ask for advice if you’re feeling unsure.  

Firstly, we really appreciate you trusting us enough to share something so important and personal with us. Opening up about self-harm can be a difficult thing to do, but you have taken the first step in doing that by contacting Ask Alex, so well done for that. We would be concerned to hear that you’ve been self-harming and that it’s affecting your life a lot. It’s completely understandable that this would be impacting on you as it’s a tough thing to experience.  

From what you’ve said it sounds like you’ve been seeing a psychologist; it’s great to hear that you have taken the brave decision to talk to someone who is a professional and who can help you with what you’re experiencing at the moment. It sounds like there is a good level of trust there between you and your psychologist if you are considering whether you should tell them about self-harming. By considering the option of telling your psychologist, it seems like you are ready to look for help from an adult that you trust, and that is a very positive sign.  

We understand that it may be worrying when you think about telling your psychologist about the self-harm as you don’t want your parents to know. It’s important that we answer your question honestly – if you were to tell the psychologist that you are self-harming, they would be obligated to tell your parents as this is a risk to your safety. However, your psychologist would not be obligated to tell them the content of what you’ve discussed in confidence with them, solely that you have been self-harming. The reason for this is to keep young people safe and to ensure they can get the support they need with their mental health. This would be the case for any young person disclosing self-harm to a psychologist.  

Alternatively, if you feel that you need to give this more consideration before making up your mind, Childline are always here to listen and help you talk things through when you’re unsure as sometimes, talking about a situation might help us clarify what step we want to take next.. Do you think it might be helpful to talk to someone about what you feel might happen if your parents were to find out? Your safety is the main priority in this situation, so please know that Childline will not tell you what to do or judge you, we are there to listen when you call by freephone on 1800 66 66 66 or by webchat which you can access on our website Also, if you feel that you are in acute distress/crisis or in immediate danger the option of going to your GP or to your A&E is there for you should you feel you need it.  

Here is an article you may find helpful, it provides a list of resources for young people who engage in self-harming behaviours:  

We hope that this answer is helpful and that you feel supported going forward. 

Take care, 


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