For our clients under the age of 12, we typically recommend Play Therapy as the best level of support. For teens and young adults, Adolescent Counseling is a better fit. Adolescence is a transitional time, and teenagers are at a period in their life where they are experiencing developmental changes socially, physically, and emotionally. These changes alter the way they perceive themselves and the world around them. At this pivotal point in life, it is important for them to have a safe place to explore their thoughts and feelings. Adolescent therapy is beneficial for teenagers as they enter the phase of life where they begin developing values and beliefs that make up their core being as they prepare for adulthood. Having a safe place where they can come and express themselves without fear of reprimand or judgment can be the place where they discover their true self.
Adolescent counseling is tailored to the individual. It can consist of traditional talk therapy and active therapy, which incorporates therapeutic activities into the session. It is important for parents of adolescents must understand the complexity of their teen's developmental stage. Parent consultations with a therapist are incorporated throughout the duration of the therapeutic process to allow skill building, such as parenting techniques, that can be beneficial to use at home.
Some common issues parents have identified in their teens include:
Isolation and withdrawal
Lack of motivation
Weight gain or loss
Early smoking, drinking, or drug use
Sexually acting out
Damaging or destroying property
With adolescence being a difficult time, these days more than ever, most teens will misbehave at some point. If your teen is misbehaving to a point where it goes above what is developmentally appropriate for their age or seems disruptive, adolescent counseling may be a good fit. Counseling can arm teens with tangible resources and tools in order to help them manage their day-to-day and any obstacles that might come their way.
Mental health issues that are treated in Adolescent Counseling may include:
General or social anxiety
The process at Heritage Counseling is individualized by the client. If there is a conflict between the adolescent and the parent, a separate parent consult will be scheduled before the first session. If no significant conflict is present, the first 20-30 minutes of the first 1.5-hour session will be for the parents to speak with the clinician. Ongoing sessions after the initial appointment will be 50 minutes and the clinician and client will determine the cadence.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 49.5% of adolescents have or will have a mental health issue at some point, and 22.2% have a severe impairment. With pressure coming from multiple areas in teens' lives, they are especially vulnerable to anxiety-related issues that could harm them in various aspects of their life. It has become more prevalent that there is a need for more awareness about the benefits of adolescent counseling and how it can improve and transform the lives of teenagers.
Some benefits of Adolescent Counseling can include:
Overall improvement of mental health
When teens go through adolescent counseling, they are taught valuable lessons and are equipped with tools to help them navigate through various mental health struggles such as anxiety, depression, anger, and stress.
Improved self-esteem and confidence
Counseling can improve a teen's self-esteem by giving unbiased feedback and providing insight into a situation from an outside perspective. Being able to look at a situation, or themselves, in a positive light can improve how a teen views themselves.
Building communication skills
Learning communication skills is valuable at any stage of life. When teens can communicate well with their peers, family members, teachers, etc., they can better articulate their feelings and needs. Clear communication can reduce unmet expectations and misunderstandings.
Improvement in school
When adolescents are lacking motivation in their lives, school tends to be something that suffers. Adolescent counseling gets to the root cause of lack of motivation and teaches teens how to prioritize academic success, which comes from internal motivation.
The most common type of therapy used for adolescent counseling is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT). CBT is a form of psychological treatment that helps people learn to recognize and change irrational, disturbing, or damaging thought patterns that negatively affect their emotions and behavior. It is based on the idea of the connection between our thoughts, meaning the way we think and feel often affects how we behave. CBT therapy focuses on identifying and challenging the spontaneous and automatic negative thoughts and perceptions that often result in emotional distress, anxiety, and depression. Once these thought patterns are identified, people are taught to replace them with more objective and realistic thoughts, which can lead to positive behavioral changes.
CBT Therapy can help teens learn:
Coping techniques for a variety of general life stressors
To identify and manage their emotions, including anger
How to deal with issues within their family or at school
Learn communication skills and conflict resolution techniques
To handle relationship difficulties or low self-esteem
To set goals and increase motivation and focus
To treat Insomnia
Coping mechanisms to deal with grief, loss, a medical illness, and trauma caused by abuse or violence
To manage chronic physical symptoms (IBS, fatigue, pain, injuries)
CBT for adolescents focuses on changing how they think about their fears, increasing exposure to feared situations, and building relaxation strategies such as deep breathing, total muscle relaxation, positive self-talk, and more.
If you or someone you know is interested in adolescent counseling, please contact Heritage Counseling to get more information and schedule an appointment at (214) 363- 2345. Adolescent Counseling might be the perfect fit for a teen looking to discuss their issues with an unbiased licensed clinician who can provide actionable tools to help manage and overcome their issues.
If parents see continuous signs of anger, stress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health struggle that their teen does not feel comfortable discussing with them, therapy may be a good fit. In therapy, a non-biased clinician will be able to discuss issues and provide a plan in order to help manage and overcome them.
Anxiety and depression tend to be the most common issues teenagers experience. Adolescent Counseling is a productive way that parents can provide support to their teenagers through the help of a licensed clinician.
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