Is your teen under a lot of stress? Are they having issues with peers? Are they suffering from an eating disorder? Do you suspect they are using drugs or alcohol?
Most of us remember our teenage years as a combination of great fun, burgeoning freedom and a tremendous amount of stress. During this time our hormone levels are skyrocketing, making us feel emotionally out of control. We also feel a greater need to perform well academically and fit into social circles. All of this stress can take its toll on a teen’s mental health and overall well-being.
Common Life Challenges Among Teens
Teens can often face some serious life challenges that impact their mental health and well-being.
Anxiety and Depression
Mood changes in teens and young adults are normal and expected. But when their mood negatively impacts other areas of life, it should be assessed by a mental health professional.
So many things change during these years that sometimes the changes feel overwhelming and can leave us feeling lost.
Loss can come in the form of a death of a loved one, including a pet, and it can also come in the form of parental separation or divorce. Loss also happens when a family moves to a new location and the teen must go to a new school.
A little stress is normal in life and can even be motivating. But too much stress can cause burnout at any age. Many teens face tremendous amounts of stress to do well in school, hold down a job, and be accepted by their peers.
From friends to family members to bullies, relationship are tough at these ages. Social support is such an important factor during these years which is why learning how to maintain healthy relationships now is so very important.
This is not an exhaustive list of reasons why a teen or young adult may want to speak with a therapist by any means. If you think your teen could benefit from therapy, please reach out to us.
What is therapy like for Teens and Young Adults?
We always suggest that teens begin with individual counseling because having their own counselor gives them someone in their corner. Having a non-judgmental adult who they can trust and be honest with is crucial to teens participation in counseling.
Often times our counselors will check in with parents as needed but teens and young adults get as much confidentiality as possible. This allows them to fully open up in counseling and hopefully they eventually share their work with their support system when they choose to do so.
Life changes during these times can be very disruptive and cause high amounts of distress for teens and young adults. We find that teaching coping skills and normalizing their feelings help them learn to understand their lives better. Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, “You are going through a difficult time and it’s ok to have these negative feelings” to help them understand that stress is a part of life and a part they need to learn to control now.
Gender Identity and Sexuality are hot topics for these age groups. We are proud LGBQTIA allies and are happy to help families work through questions on these topics.
All of our counselors work with these ages and how they provide therapy depends on their style. Kara Burrus, MEd, LPC, might use play therapy techniques, Ashley McElroy, MS, LMFT might do more family therapy work and Sarah Roye, MS, LPC, NCC might use DBT worksheets. For this age range, we think it is most important for the client to have a good connection with their therapist and enjoy the kind of therapy provided. Yep you read that right-our clients do get to ENJOY therapy. In fact, if they don’t we ask that they let us know so they can be better matched with a therapist that works for them.
If your teen or young adult is struggling right now and could benefit from therapy, please reach out. We’d love to discuss counselor options that might best suite your child.