Teens live in a complicated, contradictory, and media-saturated world, a world that is different from what today’s parents experienced. Teens are seeking to discover their own unique identity, are taking on more and more aspects of adulthood while trying to leave childhood behind, and developing independence while working on healthy boundaries and relationships.
It is not uncommon for teens to still question what’s important to them and wonder what they do well. Teens often need help recognizing their own skills and strengths, identifying the influences that are shaping them, and learning to make values-guided decisions. Developing that core-self is not easy, it takes time to identify what makes you unique, what your gifts are, how to learn from and respect your emotions, and what your goals are. Therapy offers a confidential environment for those conversations to take place.
COMMON STRESSORS IN TEENS:
- Self-injury, including eating disorders
- Depression or Anxiety (school, social, & generalized)
- Body Image issues
- Jealousy & Fears
- Loss & Grief
- Low Self-Esteem
- Academic challenges
BENEFITS OF THERAPY FOR TEENS:
- Closer relationships with friends and family
- More confidence and self assurance
- Feeling more comfortable with the way they look
- Feeling more creative and joyful
- Discovering academic strengths and how to use them successfully
- Identifying strengths and using them in rough times
FAQ’S FOR TEENS
WHY SHOULD I GO TO THERAPY?
The teen years are sometimes a difficult time in your life when you are trying to find your place in the world. There are so many changes that you will go through emotionally, mentally and physically, that life can feel overwhelming. Therapy can assist you to cope with life’s pressures, gain insight into your behavior, understand your emotions and work towards the change that you desire.
Therapy can help if you:
- Feel depressed or feel like no one understands you.
- Feel like you’re an outsider looking in, have no one to talk to.
- Have relationship issues at home or with friends.
- Have feelings of self-loathing or anger.
- Increased feelings of anxiousness or trouble sleeping.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THERAPY?
With a therapist you can share whatever is on your mind without worrying about being judged, criticized or rejected. The relationship you have with your therapist is unique as you can explore difficult issues and know that your secrets are safe. A therapist will help you sort through your feelings, experiences and questions all in a supportive environment.
With this support, you can become more comfortable with your feelings and able to express them more effectively. You can gain a better understanding of your current situation, mood and relationships to increase your acceptance of self.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM A THERAPIST?
You can expect that your therapist will be non-judgmental and supportive. Your therapist will guide your therapy but will not tell you what to do. It is normal that you may feel apprehensive about your first session, but most clients report that they feel a sense of relief at the end of a session.
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY?
Everything discussed is held in the strictest confidence. Information is only released with your informed, voluntary and written consent. There are a few circumstances under which a therapist is compelled to release information, but most commonly if you are a danger to yourself or others. All of this will be fully explained during your first session.
AS A PARENT, LOOK FOR THE FOLLOWING WARNING SIGNS THAT SOMETHING IS GOING ON WITH YOUR TEEN:
- Aggressive behaviors
- Excessive worry or anxiety
- Changes in mood, weight, appetite, friends, etc.
- Problems at school – academically or behaviorally
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Social withdrawal
- Self esteem and self confidence
- Lack of interest in activities they used to like
- Anger or emotional outbursts
- Being the victim of bullying
- Not “fitting in” or difficulty making or keeping friends
- Unhealthy dating relationships
- A sudden change of friends or mood
- Risky behaviors, such as drug or alcohol use
- Feelings or thoughts of suicide
- Tragic events in the community or the world
- Violent or illegal behaviors – fighting, stealing, alcohol use, etc.
- Changes in family life – moving, divorce, death or serious illness of a family member
- The loss of a close friend, girlfriend/boyfriend through death, a breakup, or moving
- Oppositional and defiant behaviors
- Self injury, such as cutting or eating disorders
A NOTE TO PARENTS
Teenage years are challenging for the child, not to mention for the parents. Teens face many pressures and do not always react in a way that parents find acceptable or may be a concern to them. Some struggles are a normal part of growing up and/or learning independence. However, some teens (and their families) may need extra support or guidance with navigating through these challenges.
Therapy provides a safe, trusting environment in which the teen can express their thoughts and feelings in a confidential manner. Teens need to trust the therapist and the therapeutic relationship to help learn emotional management and regulation, communicate better, and create new strategies to adjust to situations. If your teen struggles to share information with you, it may be a sign that they need to talk with someone other than their parent. Undoubtedly it’s not because they don’t care about you, but oftentimes it’s because they feel shame or embarrassment and don’t want to disappoint the people that care for them the most. Therapy can provide an unbiased space for the teen to vent frustrations, review their perspectives and help them communicate more effectively in all aspects of their life. Involving parents can be important in resolving differences and with achieving therapeutic and life goals. This can all be done from a Christian perspective if you choose.