Teen Counseling

Does Your Teenager Feel Like No One Understands Them?

Has your teen been struggling to fit in with their peers? Do they have trouble keeping up in school? Maybe strained relationships with friends and family have caused them to spiral into a deep depression, and they’ve withdrawn from social activities. Or perhaps they experienced trauma during their formative years, and now it’s affecting their day-to-day life. Maybe they’re starting to come to terms with their sexuality, and they’re afraid of how others will view them for it.

When a teen is struggling, they often turn to unhealthy means of coping. They may try releasing their pain through cutting, drinking, or other harmful behaviors. Or perhaps they hide their pain altogether, isolating in their room all the time and refusing to go out. Oftentimes, their troubles will occupy their mind so much that even their appetite and sleep patterns are affected.

Deep down, your teen probably feels different from everyone else—like they’re the odd one out, and no one “gets” them. In therapy, they can connect with someone who accepts them for who they are and understands what a confusing and stressful time of life the teenage years can be.

The Teen Years Are A Period Of Constant Pressure And Uncertainty

Adolescence is a time when young people are first starting to assert their independence. At the same time, however, it is also a time of confusion—although they want to be independent, they still want to feel safe. As much as teens act like they don’t need their parents, many of them still rely on their parents for comfort. They’re trying to make their own way in the world, but deep down, they waver between their need for autonomy and their need for security. Naturally, this creates uncertainty about who they really are and what they really want.

The teen years are also a time of newfound pressures and anxieties. Peer groups become increasingly important. As a result, teens often hide who they really are in order to fit in with their friends. In recent years, the culture of social media has created immense pressure to look, dress, and act a certain way. When teens don’t conform to the unrealistic portrayals they see in the media, they often feel bad about themselves and develop low self-esteem.

What’s more, many teens are starting to explore romance and sexuality at this time of life. They may develop an addiction to pornography or struggle with promiscuity. Confusion about sexual identity abounds. And many of them fear that their peers won’t accept them if they are part of the LGBTQ community.

In order to cope with all their challenges, teens often try to “numb” their troubles with unhealthy behaviors like cutting, drug use, or excessive social media use. Unfortunately, these habits generally do more harm than good. In counseling sessions with me, your teen has the chance to develop more effective coping skills and improve their confidence and self-awareness in ways they never thought possible.

Counseling Can Help Your Teen Conquer Negative Beliefs And Explore Their True Self

What many teens want most is a place where they can be themselves and express their emotions without any fear of shame or judgment. In sessions with me, they have a chance to find support, safety, and compassion with someone who accepts them unconditionally. Therapy is an opportunity for your teen to invite me into their world. Here, they can explore their own unique identity, gain insight into their strengths, and identify areas for growth.

Typically, I will meet with you, as the parent, one-on-one during the initial session. Next, I will meet with both you and your teenager together to discuss the plan for therapy going forward. Having a session with both of you allows everyone to be on the same page regarding treatment. That way, when I begin meeting with your teen one-on-one, they can rest assured that everything they tell me is confidential (unless it poses a safety risk, of course, in which case you have the right to know).

Navigating Teen Emotions: Building Self-Awareness and Coping Strategies Together

During sessions with your teen, I will help them develop and utilize healthy strategies for regulating their emotions on their own. I want them to be able to identify what they are feeling and learn about how their emotions show up in their body. If your teen is angry, for instance, I will teach them to recognize the ways their anger manifests itself physically. Maybe their fists clench, their heart races, or they start sweating. By drawing connections between their mind and body, they can increase their self-awareness and learn to keep negative emotions from controlling their life.

What’s more, counseling with me can also be fun. My office has an assortment of games and art materials they can use during sessions. One of the approaches I use with teens is sand-tray therapy. Since teenagers often struggle to articulate themselves, sand-tray therapy helps them create symbols and pictures out of sand to represent their feelings in a way that talking can’t. Essentially, it’s an artistic way for teens to express themselves through their own miniature world of colored sand.

Healing Through Choice: Tailored Therapeutic Approaches for Teen Mental Health

If your teen is dealing with depression, anxiety, or trauma, I may utilize an approach called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Although it sounds rather technical, EMDR is actually very organic and straightforward. The brain has a natural ability to heal itself, and this approach uses a series of visuals and auditory cues that allow it to do so. Although it is widely believed that EMDR is mainly for PTSD treatment, it can be used to help teens with virtually any mental health issue.

My approach also draws heavily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). At its core, CBT seeks to address the connections between the stressors in your teen’s life and their negative core beliefs. CBT will help them understand what kind of situations lead them to think negatively about themselves and their world and how they can think positively instead.

Ultimately, whatever approach I use comes down to what is best for your teen. This is their time, not mine, and I want them to choose the direction that therapy takes us. My role is simply to help them as they embark on their own healing journey, equipping them with the skills to regulate their emotions and tap into their true identity.

You may have some concerns about teen counseling…

How will I know what’s going on with my teen in therapy?

I will check in with you periodically to discuss your teen’s progress. Since my sessions are confidential, however, I cannot talk with you about the details of my sessions without their consent. Instead, I will give you feedback on what we are working on in session. More importantly, I will ask you for feedback on your teen. For instance, I might ask you if you’ve noticed improvement in their day-to-day life since they began counseling. You are the best judge of their progress, since you are with them throughout the week. While I work with your teen, I am there to support you as well.

What if my teen won’t talk?

I’m used to teens who take time to open up. If they’re not comfortable sharing certain things right away, that’s okay. They decide the pace their journey goes at, and if it goes slowly, I can accommodate that. Besides, if they’re reluctant to talk about their problems, we can focus on their hobbies and interests instead. Oftentimes, teens who are shy will open up when I discuss what they’re passionate about.

How long will my teen be in counseling?

There is no hard-and-fast rule for how long your teenager’s healing journey will take. The most important thing is commitment—as long as your teenager wants to grow, they will benefit from therapy. While your teen and I don’t have to meet every week if it’s not possible, they will benefit from regular therapy sessions. We will create a treatment plan that meets the needs of your teen.

Help Your Teen Embark On Their Own Healing Journey

If your teen is struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, or any other issues, I encourage you to connect with me. Together, you and I can empower them to tap into their true potential and fulfill their hopes and dreams. To get started, you can call me at 832-521-8809 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. To book an appointment, you can fill out my online scheduling form.

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