Teen Therapy: What to Expect

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Teens | 0 comments

Being a teen can be a rollercoaster ride! Teenagers are often experiencing the push and pull from several directions. It is overwhelming to say the least!

Adolescents feel pressure from:

  • Academics
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Need to be accepted
  • Discovering their individual identity
  • Peer Pressure
  • Job

It is a lot to navigate for anyone. With so many areas of stress, it can impact the overall sense of well-being. For some, these stressors are coupled with mental health disorders. According to a report published on the World Health Organization’s website, “Globally, one in seven 10-19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder”.

Adolescence is a time of physical, emotional, and mental growth. During the teen years, it is vital to develop healthy social and emotional habits to positively impact mental health. For some teens, it can be helpful to seek therapy for support in navigating the needs and challenges of the teenage years.

What Is Teen Therapy?

Therapy is an opportunity to get extra support or to explore challenges. You will meet with a therapist regularly to talk and learn. You may learn insights about yourself, your relationships, and your surroundings. Additionally, you will learn strategies to help you to cope with challenges and feelings. Therapy is for you and about you.

What Can Therapy Help?

People can participate in therapy for a variety of needs. Some areas that are commonly addressed in therapy are:

  • Family problems
  • Peer issues
  • Self esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger Issues
  • Stress/Worry
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Abuse
  • ADHD

What Takes Place In Therapy?

In therapy, you will have the opportunity to talk, learn, practice, and discover. Whether you participate in virtual vs. in person or individual vs. group vs. family, you will be able to talk and explore your problems and challenges. You will also be able to learn coping strategies, communication skills, self care techniques, and more. In sessions, you can also practice these new skills. Your therapist will also help you to rediscover your strengths which will positively impact your health.

When Should I Consider Counseling?

The teen years are a period of growth and change. Hormones are fluctuating, the body is changing, and the brain is still developing. Then you add in the increased pressures related to school and peers… and it’s truly hard. During this time, it can be difficult to cope with the changes and challenges.

You may want to consider therapy if struggles persist with academics, behaviors, peer relationships, self esteem, or family relationships. The decision to initiate counseling can feel uncertain, however therapy can be beneficial.

What Is The Parenting Role In Teen Therapy?

This is a great question with a layered answer…

Parents can help find a counselor for their teen. Additionally, they can initiate the conversation about seeking professional help. Parents can also support the teen’s journey in therapy. As a parent, you can encourage the teen to have their voice heard and take the lead in pursuing support.

Parent participation in teen therapy can vary depending on the therapist and the teen.

Many therapists will identify expectations and boundaries for parents in the therapeutic relationship during the initial phase of therapy. The parental involvement in teen therapy may be limited. For example, a therapist may not share information with the parents if sharing the information could be harmful to the teen.

A therapist may provide limited time with the parent to check in. While many therapists will want to collaborate with the parent and their teen to best support the adolescent, ultimately the relationship between the teen and the therapist is the priority.

It can also be beneficial for the parent(s) to also participate in their own therapy. Counseling can help the parent learn strategies while also processing the areas of concern with their teen and themselves.

What Is The Teen Role In Therapy?

In seeking counseling support, the teen voice should be heard and encouraged. It can be beneficial to have the teen actively participate in finding a therapist. Read through website information about therapists, participate in contacting therapists, and identify qualities that are important.

In therapy, the teen is encouraged to identify concerns and goals for themselves. The teen can provide feedback and insight for themselves in their therapeutic journey. Teen therapy is for the teen, therefore they will be encouraged to be active participants.

Additionally, in regards to sharing information, confidentiality for the teen is a key part of the therapeutic relationship. Basically, what happens in sessions, stays in the session- UNLESS there is a concern for the teen or someone else’s safety.

What I Hope You Know

Being a teen is hard. Being the parent of a teen is hard. It is more than okay to reach out for help and support. It takes courage to ask for help and it can be beneficial to receive the help you need. Finding the right therapist and knowing what to expect in therapy can be overwhelming, but I encourage you to take the first step! You are not alone and you do not have to do it all alone!

About the Author- Kathy Davis, LCSW

Kathy Davis, LCSW provides virtual therapy at Resolve Counseling in Texas. She works with families, children, teens, and adults providing online therapy for anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma.