Therapy with Teens

When it comes to adolescents, it’s important to keep in mind that there are biological, developmental, and socio-emotional changes happening. This can make being a teenager and living with them difficult at times. Many teens need help dealing with school stress, such as homework, test anxiety, bullying,  peer pressure, or social relationships. Others need help to discuss their feelings about family issues, particularly if there’s a major transition, such as a divorce, move, or serious illness.  Teens who have experienced child abuse, neglect, trauma, or loss are often suffering from emotional distress.  A number of teens struggle with depression.

Types of Therapy

There are three main types of therapy for teens: individual, group, and family. Sometimes, people will do combinations of therapy, such as individual and group therapy. The type of therapy you have depends on the problem(s) presented.  I provide individual and family therapy.  During individual sessions, I incorporate other activities such as therapeutic games or art activities to help teens identify, express, and cope with their feelings.  Family sessions consists of whomever is defined as family (i.e. biological or adoptive parents, siblings, legal guardians, foster parents, or other caregivers). Because everybody is there, you can work on problems that affect the family. We will address address relational patterns, communication, and relevant family issues. Just like every individual has their own story so does the family. Sometimes families that have gone through alot together need support to bounce back or get through it.  I make sure everyone gets to voice their concerns.

In most situations, it can be helpful for me to talk to your caregivers or your school counselor so that I can gain a better understanding of you and how best to support you.

We can discuss the most appropriate type of treatment for you when we speak.

Signs and symptoms

Behavioral Issues: lying, stealing, defiance, arguing, staying out late, missing school, verbal or physical aggression; bedwetting, anorexia, binge purge eating, drop in grades; alcohol or drug use

frequent or increased physical complaints (stomachache, headaches, not feeling well)

insomnia or increased sleepiness          fatigue or lack of energy

Sadness or hopelessness                      Irritability, anger, or hostility, mood swings

Tearfulness or frequent crying           Withdrawal from friends and family

Loss of interest in activities               Changes in eating and sleeping habits

Restlessness and agitation                 Feelings of worthlessness and guilt

Lack of enthusiasm and motivation        anxiety

Difficulty concentrating                         Thoughts of death or suicide

 Teen depression

Many rebellious and unhealthy behaviors or attitudes in teenagers are actually indications of depression. The following are some the ways in which teens “act out” or “act in” in an attempt to cope with their emotional pain:

Problems at school. Depression can cause low energy and concentration difficulties. At school, this may lead to poor attendance, a drop in grades, or frustration with schoolwork in a formerly good student.

Running away. Many depressed teens run away from home or talk about running away. Such attempts are usually a cry for help.

Drug and alcohol abuse. Teens may use alcohol or drugs in an attempt to “self-medicate” their depression. Unfortunately, substance abuse only makes things worse.

Low self-esteem. Depression can trigger and intensify feelings of ugliness, shame, failure, and unworthiness.

Internet addiction. Teens may go online to escape their problems, but excessive computer use only increases their isolation, making them more depressed.

Reckless behavior. Depressed teens may engage in dangerous or high-risk behaviors, such as reckless driving, out-of-control drinking, and unsafe sex.

Violence. Some depressed teens—usually boys who are the victims of bullying—become violent. As in the case of the Columbine and Newtown school massacres, self-hatred and a wish to die can erupt into violence and homicidal rage.

Teen depression is also associated with a number of other mental health problems, including eating disorders and self-injury.

Benefits of Therapy

Sometimes teens, like adults, can benefit from therapy. Therapy can help them develop problem-solving skills and appropriate ways to cope and express their emotions.  Therapists can help teens and families cope with stress and a variety of emotional and behavioral issues.