Do you feel like you can no longer relate to your adolescent-age child the way you used to? Has your child pushed you away at a time when they seem troubled or confused and you are unsure how best to help them? Are you concerned they may be anxious or depressed and, without intervention, they’ll experience further emotional pain?
Adolescence can be a time of turmoil that impacts your teen emotionally, physically, and socially. As they’re preparing for the next phase of life, perhaps they’re feeling confused and overwhelmed by their unknown future. Simultaneously, they’re undergoing physiological changes that can result in heightened emotions in response to stress, whether encountered at school, home or within their friend group.
Experiencing a relationship that feels safe, accepting, and welcomes vulnerability can be extremely healing. As your teen works alongside a counselor who strives to build a trusting and open relationship with them, they will explore how they see themselves in the world while examining the expectations they have for themselves.
By the end of therapy, our goal is for your teen to have a better understanding of who they are now and cultivate curiosity about who they want to become. By fostering self-love and acceptance, we will help them identify their needs, set healthy boundaries, and define their hopes for the future.
Although most counseling sessions will take place with your teen individually, for therapy to be as beneficial as possible, we recommend that initial sessions include parents and, perhaps, other family members. Gaining a clear picture of family dynamics will enable the therapist to utilize a modality that will best suit your teen. For example, they may benefit from developing better emotional regulation and coping skills they can implement when they feel overwhelmed.
To find the right solutions, we first need to better understand the problem. Discovering what the problems and potential solutions are will be a collaborative process your teen will actively participate in. Although the therapist is the “adult in the room”, they won’t claim to have all the answers. This approach will create a nonjudgmental space that encourages your teen to feel more empowered to identify and solve their challenges in their own unique way, rather than become dependent on the therapist for all the answers.
Utilizing Internal Family Systems (IFS), your child will learn the difference between a reaction (an action carried out impulsively without much thought) and a response (an action arrived at more thoughtfully with reasoning, control, and self-understanding).
By understanding reactions and responses in the context of different “parts” that exist separately within them, your child will foster respect and empathy for all their coping techniques and be encouraged to draw upon more controlled responses to life’s many stressors. This can be achieved through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, breathing exercises, physiological regulation, playing a game, or envisioning a safe space.
Therapy for teens offers your child tangible skills they can incorporate into their self-care practices and continue to use as they gradually grow into the person they want to be. Learning how to navigate the tumult of adolescence will give them the confidence to become a resilient, well-adjusted adult.
With our support and guidance, we can take the guesswork out of what your teen needs to thrive. To schedule a free consultation and learn more about therapy for teens, please contact us.
Because adolescence is a time when physiological development converges with self-exploration and self-questioning, it’s common for teenage children to ponder their sexuality. Counseling for teens provides a safe space for your child to explore the messages they’ve received through their lives regarding sexuality and normalize their curiosity within a therapeutic environment. Their therapist can also provide your teen with some psychoeducation on sexuality and talk to them about establishing safety in sexual encounters.
Developmentally speaking, it’s normal—healthy, in fact—for adolescents to push away from authority figures to assert independence. However, because we lack adult mentors within our culture they can relate to, teens are often left to navigate challenges alone or rely on other confused peers for guidance. The relationship your teen develops with their therapist has the potential to be that mentor. In therapy, we will strive to gain your teen’s trust by making sure they feel understood without taking a side. They’ll be allowed to explore their inner world without shame, blame, or embarrassment, which can be incredibly valuable for their emotional growth.
Understandably, you have a lot on your plate right now financially. If you’re saving for college. the idea of spending additional money on therapy for your teen may sound unaffordable. Perhaps you’re hoping your child’s going through a temporary phase they’ll soon outgrow. But if your teenage child suffers from anxiety or depression, it may be harder for them to pursue their dreams down the road without therapy. Although counseling takes hard work and commitment, it can make a significant difference in your teen’s life. And if it’s not working, that’s okay, you’re under no commitment to continue.