The Challenge of Teen Years
Teen years are filled with change and increased independence and teen counseling can help. As a parent, understanding the difference between ‘typical’ developmental growing pains, adjustments to life changes, or depression or anxiety is not always clear when you are in it.
Teenagers experience feelings like adults, but they don’t have as much experience dealing with complicated feelings or relationships. On top pf this, their brains are still developing. The prefrontal cortex develops through mid- to late 20’s and this means teens are more likely to be impulsive and not think things through, as planning and prioritizing skills are still being developed.
Teens can also experience more mood fluctuations. An objective, experienced and compassionate therapist can help you navigate all these changes.
Do you have a teenager you are concerned about?
Questions to ask yourself
- Has your teen has become withdrawn, irritable, using alcohol or drugs and nothing you try seems to reach them or make a difference?
- Is your teen spending hours alone texting or using other social media sites, totally absorbed on the internet and shutting you out?
- Is your teen anxious and struggling to face new challenges or having difficulty sleeping or worried all the time? If you have tried to reassure them, guide, or encourage them but s/he still feel overwhelmed with doubt or anxiety, it can feel like nothing helps and you both feel frustrated.
- Is your teen struggling with social or romantic relationships?
- Are you worried your teen is experimenting with alcohol or drugs?
Anxiety in Teenagers
Teenagers today experience many pressures and demands that are different from other generations. They are navigating social relationships in person and virtually. Their virtual worlds are non-stop and learning to maneuver these relationships can be difficult. Teens today are especially susceptible to anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion. However, when it is experienced too intensely, meaning your teen is unable to control their worry or it occurs too frequently, and it is occurring more days than not for several weeks, your adolescent may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
If your teen cannot stop worrying about their grades, ruminates about something a peer said or what others are thinking about them and this leads to changes in eating or sleeping patterns they may benefit from teen counseling. Or maybe they are preoccupied with ‘what if’ thoughts. If these ideas dominate their thoughts, you may notice they become irritable with those around them.
Do you find your teenager saying negative things about themselves, or maybe they give up before they even start? Is your adolescent preoccupied or distracted by their worries or performance? Maybe there are always on alert and have trouble relaxing or may have turned to alcohol or drugs to manage these feelings. These can be signs of anxiety in your teenager- teen therapy can help.
Teens with depression may seem sad, have sleeping or appetite changes and decreases in energy level but teens who are struggling with depression can also be irritable. You may notice your teen demonstrating negative self-talk or low self-esteem. Sometimes there are feelings or statements of hopelessness.
Depression often impacts concentration and motivation. Your teen may not want to participate in activities they used to enjoy, or they may self-harm or experience suicidal ideation. If you observe several of these changes and they last longer than 2 weeks, your teen will likely benefit from teen therapy.
Life changes, bullying, social exclusion, or trauma are some things that can contribute to teenage depression. If you are concerned about your teen, please know there is help.
Teen Therapists Can Help
Trained and caring teen therapists will help your teen understand what is happening for them and empower your teen to take steps to implement coping strategies to help them day to day. Your teenager will practice learning about their triggers, thoughts, or beliefs.
Strategies to manage difficult feelings will be practiced in session so your teen can feel more ready to try them at home. Teenagers often benefit from experiential or expressive therapies in conjunction with talk therapies.
Our providers are invested in creating a safe space and nonjudgmental relationship where your adolescent’s preferences and strengths are supported.
Art and expressive therapies
Sometimes it is difficult to share feelings or to put feelings into words. Utilizing creative and expressive mediums such as art, play or sand tray therapies create space from difficult feelings through the process of externalization, which means witnessing difficult experiences or feelings outside of ourselves. These modalities can be helpful in being able to express and process painful emotions.
Providers at Changes Counseling and Wellness Center use creative modalities to do just that. The process of creating art and the therapist guidance during this process can support fuller self-awareness and allow access to subconscious thoughts, negative core beliefs and even unrecognized resources.
What if my teen is unsure about starting therapy?
We are invested in getting to know your teen and working collaboratively with him or her. We understand that starting therapy can be difficult and sometimes teenagers fear being judged, blamed, or lectured. Our compassionate, non-judgmental therapists will uncover what is working and will help with areas of concern.
We believe therapy can be a place where we can laugh and work while bringing in creativity as it suits your adolescent, celebrate their strengths, practice self-kindness, and deepen self-awareness.
What should my teen expect with therapy?
Therapy at Changes Counseling and Wellness Center is a collaborative process. Our knowledgeable providers will bring their training and experience and you and your teen will bring your unique experience, preferences and needs. The first session includes getting to know your teen and your family, strengths and challenges, symptoms and hopes. After understanding your situation, we will identify goals to work towards together.
Does teen counseling really help?
Teen therapy can help! One benefit of the still developing teen brain is that it has lots of plasticity, this means it can learn and adapt. Teenagers can learn skills they can implement into their lives, process their feelings, and build insights into their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings- and that of others.
Sometimes family relationships have been impacted and need some extra care, this may occur with your teen’s therapist or your therapist may recommend another provider who can help improve communication and work through difficult experiences or feelings.