Teen Counseling

Does Your Teen Appear To Be Struggling?

Are you living with a teenager that seems persistently on edge, down, overwhelmed or unable to concentrate? Maybe your teen is overly concerned with how others perceive them. You might worry that they suffer from body image issues or other kinds of insecurity. Has your teen ever expressed feelings of worthlessness or extreme doubts about the future?

girl with phone looking sadDoes it seem like your teen is very isolated from their peers? Do they spend a lot of time online, on the phone, playing video games or watching TV? Maybe these behaviors seem to distract them from a variety of responsibilities, including school or housework.

Has your teen described sweating, shaking, trouble breathing or other experiences that sound like a panic attack? Perhaps they become overwhelmed when a big test comes up. Or, they may be preoccupied with getting into the right college, so they over-pack their schedule with hard classes and extracurricular activities. As they scramble to keep up, they may struggle to maintain personal hygiene, a steady sleep schedule, healthy eating habits or empowering relationships.

You may have noticed other upsetting patterns, lack of motivation or dips in school performance. It may be the case that your teen has begun engaging in risky or harmful behaviors. If they are staying out all night or not being honest about their activities or whereabouts, you may worry that your teen has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Perhaps you are receiving calls from the school or other individuals in the community about your child’s troublesome behavior.

Do you wish your teen could just relax, be happy and enjoy friendships with their peers? Would you like to provide them with better coping skills that set them up for success now and in the future?

Many Teens Struggle

If your teen appears to be showing signs of teen depression or anxiety, they are certainly not alone.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13-18 experience a mental disorder at some point during their life. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.

There are a variety of contributing factors, both chemical and environmental, that can contribute to depression and/or anxiety in teens. These days, kids are plugged in 24/7. That provides ample opportunity for your child to compare themselves to others or receive messages that may be menacing. It’s very common for kids to feel as they are not living up to an unwritten standard and suffer from thoughts that perpetuate cycles of low self-esteem. Social media, video game communities and the school environment can be rich grounds for comparisons and bullying.

Going through middle and high school has never been easy, but there’s more pressure on teens than ever. The application process for college is extremely competitive. Many teens believe they need to have perfect marks and impeccable letters of recommendation to even be considered by the school of their choice, let alone receive scholarships to lighten student debt. And this may be true. However, if they don’t have the proper coping skill to adequately deal with overwhelming stress, they could easily burn out.

The good news your teen is not alone, and help for troubled teens is available. Teen anxiety and depression are completely treatable. With the right skills and guidance from a clinical psychologist, your teen can thrive now, as well as down the road.

Teen Therapy Can Help Your Teen Grow And Thrive  

Teen therapy is hugely effective in helping your teen clarify issues that are holding them back and providing them with the skills to overcome obstacles. I use a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach. CBT helps your child recognize how thoughts influence behavior. For example, if your child is suffering from low self-esteem, they’ll come to understand what fuels those thoughts and gain tools to combat them. When your child is able to recognize and slow down their thought process, they then have more control over how they feel and behave.

During teen therapy sessions, your teen and I will discuss any challenges they are currently facing. We’ll explore how these challenges impact their emotions. At the same time, we’ll identify any thoughts or depressed beliefs that may be fueling their dissatisfaction. I will use practical evidence based interventions to help your teen feel better by changing what they think and do.

In a safe, accepting and non-judgmental environment, your child and I can assess particular situations and practice healthier communication and ways to deal with conflict with friends or family. They’ll also receive effective coping strategies for processing sadness, anger or ambivalence. As your child becomes increasingly self-aware, they’ll also start to feel better about themselves and navigate their world with increased ease.

With the right support and guidance, your teen can make small, actionable changes that can have a positive and lasting impact. The skills your child attains in therapy will not only help them feel better now but set them to have connected, peaceful and successful adult lives.

You may still have questions or concerns about teen counseling…

My teen is very shy and doesn’t want to open up to a stranger.

It’s very normal for anyone to feel uncomfortable speaking to someone they don’t know about personal issues. That is why I aim to provide a very supportive, understanding judgment free, environment for teens to express and process concerns at their own pace. In the beginning, we spend time just getting to know each other, so your teen feels more comfortable and engaged with the process.

My teen doubts therapy can help them.

Therapy is a wonderful opportunity for your teen to express and clarify concerns with a neutral third party, who is not a parent, teacher or friend. The time here is 100 percent dedicated to them, and they are welcome to be completely themselves.

Therapy is not always an easy process, but it can work, and that means it’s worth a try. No one should struggle persistently through life, especially at such a young age. With help, things can always get better.

Does seeing a therapist mean something is wrong with my child? Does it mean something is wrong with me as a parent?

Absolutely not. It’s really normal to struggle, and there are times when we all truly need help. Seeking out that help is a testament to you and your teen’s willingness to grow. Therapy is often a very stabilizing experience.

It doesn’t mean anyone is sick or crazy. It just means they need help coping with stressors and overcoming obstacles. Therapy should be looked at nothing more than a tool for your teen better their life.

My teen is so busy they don’t have time for therapy

Many teenagers are busy with school, sports and other extracurricular activities. However, as important as those activities may seem, mental health should be the biggest priority. If your teen is currently struggling with mental health issues, all other aspects of their lives are being affected as well.

Designating only one hour a week to therapy will start providing them with positive changes that will reflect on every aspect of their life. Cognitive behavioral therapy is generally short term, the sooner an individual seeks treatment to the onset of symptoms the better their prognosis will be. Don’t wait to get your teen the help they need.

Set Your Child Up For Success

If you’re interested in learning more about teen counseling, please contact me or call 631-533-0254 or email [email protected] for a free 20 minute consultation. If you’re interested in staying up to date on my practice, follow me on Facebook.