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Therapy for Teens

Are You Worried About Your Teen’s Mental Health?

Has your teen become withdrawn, depressed, and anxious? Do they express suicidal thoughts or engage in self-injurious behavior—like cutting or abusing substances? Are you worried that they could sink further into a downward spiral without the right support? 

When your teen is suffering emotionally, it affects the entire family. That happy-go-lucky child you remember may have turned into a teenager who seems lonely, hopeless, and possibly ostracized by their peers. They might struggle in school and keep mostly to themselves. With the walls they’ve put up, they may seem like a stranger to you.

You May Feel Disconnected From Your Teen And Unable To Help

For many families, the teenage years can be difficult to navigate. When your child hits adolescence, they may have begun to push boundaries and become rebellious, possibly experimenting with marijuana or other substances. Or maybe you are concerned about how much time they spend online or how social media negatively affects their self-esteem. If they suffered trauma as a child, they may be feeling helpless and depressed as they enter into their teens. 

Maybe you don’t understand what underlies your child’s emotional distress or how to help them. If communication between you has grown increasingly challenging, you might feel glaring disconnect creating holes in your relationship. But as much as your teen pushes back, they likely crave boundaries and structure. Teens thrive when they feel heard, seen, and understood.

If you and your child have reached an impasse, therapy for teens can help open up the lines of communication and get you back on the same page. Working with a therapist who specializes in working with teenagers and families, it’s possible to get them the support they need as well as gain an understanding of what your teen needs to flourish.

Today’s Teens Face A Mental Health Crisis

teenager sitting on bench listening to headphones

Alarmingly, teen suicide has been on the rise in recent decades. “A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looking at mental health and suicidal behaviors from 2011 to 2021 indicates that 13 percent of high school girls had attempted suicide (30 percent had seriously considered it). That jumped to more than 20 percent for LGBTQ+ teens (45 percent had seriously considered it).” [1] [2]

The world that teens are growing up in is steeped in violence, trauma, and discrimination. Between mass shootings, climate change, global conflicts, and our politically divided country, many children struggle to maintain a sense of safety and security. Because these existential threats are part of the air they breathe, our teens may not even realize how much they have internalized the anxiety and hopelessness that permeates current events. 

Social Media Contributes To Low Self-Esteem

In their daily lives, teens often feel disconnected from themselves, their families, and their purpose. In this age of social media, teens have been conditioned to rely upon the number of likes they can generate online for gratification. However, not only is this external validation superficial and meaningless, but it also encourages unhealthy self-comparison to others. If they lack a sense of self-worth based on anything but appearance or status, teens are left feeling empty and unfulfilled.

As parents, we may wonder how best to connect with our children. Since the digital world they are immersed in may seem foreign to us, it can take some time to find common ground. Nevertheless, our teens are looking to us for support and guidance at this critical time.  

Therapy for teens can provide your child with a sounding board to discuss both their fears and their dreams. Counseling can help bridge the gap between parents and teens, bringing them closer together.

Therapy For Teens Can Help Bring Families Closer Together

large happy family embracingNothing going on with your teen happens in a vacuum. If your teenage child struggles with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, or has a history of trauma, we must first understand the family dynamics to properly address their issues. In therapy, our counselors will partner with you and your teen, collaborating on a suitable treatment plan that is tailored to your family’s needs. 

Teenage children often thrive in therapy because it provides them with a safe space to express their needs and feelings. By relating to their experiences without judgment, the therapist will develop a trusting relationship with your teen so that they feel at ease talking about their deepest desires and struggles. 

What To Expect In Sessions

Initially, the counselor will meet with your teen one-on-one to help them learn better ways to cope and find healthier outlets that can help support their feelings and needs. Once your teen can accurately identify their emotions and has a better understanding of what contributes to their anxiety and/or depression, they will develop skills to help process what they’re feeling more effectively. If necessary, we will also create a safety plan if there are concerns about suicidal ideation, substance abuse, or other risky behaviors.

Whenever possible, we highly encourage parent involvement in therapy for teens. With your teen’s consent, we will arrange sessions to meet with parents individually or with their teen. We aim to help you better understand what dynamics within the family may be contributing to your teen’s challenges and provide you with tools for improving connection and communication. 

Therapy For Teens Incorporates Creative Approaches

Teens are often more receptive to counseling that goes beyond conventional talk therapy. That’s why we like to incorporate hands-on approaches for teens, including art therapy, play therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and mindfulness to help them develop a deeper connection between mind and body. 

We utilize art therapy so your teen can draw or paint their feelings when they don’t feel like talking. Art therapy can be a fun and cathartic way to express emotion while also providing a sensory experience in the process. DBT offers skill-building—such as emotional regulation, grounding, and distress tolerance techniques—that can help teens take back control whenever they feel anxious or uneasy. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can help your teen get in touch with their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For teens who have experienced trauma, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) can be an effective therapy to process and release disturbing memories. 

Before entering therapy, your teen might feel hopeless and helpless. But with therapy, hope, resolution, and healing are possible—not only for your teen but for your entire family. We aim to help your teen feel more empowered within the family and help each of you develop ways to problem-solve, collaborate, and reconnect. 

But Maybe You Still Wonder Whether Therapy For Teens Will Be Right For You…

Will teen therapy help fix my kid?

Your child isn't broken and doesn't need fixing. Rather, we provide a warm and welcoming space for your teen to better understand their internal world and find their voice to express what they need. Once your teen has expressed what they need from you to their counselor, we can develop a treatment plan with the family, working on goals that encourage improved communication, support, and compassion. 

How long does teenage therapy usually take?

While we would love to provide a set timeframe to ease your concerns, the duration of counseling for teens is case-by-case. How long your teen will attend therapy will depend on the complexity of the issues they are dealing with, the relationship they establish with their therapist, and how willing they are to engage in treatment. Ultimately, our goal is to work ourselves out of a job by providing your teen with the tools and skills to thrive. With their participation, we have graduated many teens from therapy, helping them feel more supported and fulfilled.

Does therapy between my teen and their therapist remain confidential?

For counseling to be successful, the therapist must build trust with your teen. In the first session, they will let your teen know that therapy remains confidential except for when there are significant safety concerns for themselves or others. If the therapist determines something is going on with your teen that would be beneficial for you to know, they may encourage your child to divulge it in a group therapy session. However, it is ultimately your child’s decision whether or not to do so.

Getting Your Teen Some Extra Support Can Make All The Difference

Your teen deserves happiness. To find out more about therapy for teens with us, either in-person or online, please visit our contact page or call (818) 646-7190 to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.