Just as it is with child therapy, teen counseling is specifically directed towards a particular age group. Adolescence, often referred to as the teenage years, is a specific period of development. During this period of development, adolescent children encounter several changes that are psychological, emotional, physical, and social.
A lot goes on in a child’s body that impacts a teen’s behavior. If you find that your teen is showing warning signs of substance abuse problems, behavioral issues, or other serious problems and are looking for ways to help support your teen, you can easily get started with therapy through online counseling services.
Are you seeing uncharacteristic behavior or significant changes in your teen? Are you worried about the teens your child considers their friends? These could be warning signs that your child needs professional help, and you may need someone to talk to. Do you find yourself wondering, “How do I know if my teenager needs counseling?” No matter what you’re dealing with, it never hurts to get professional medical advice when it comes to raising teens.
Psychological and emotional changes that occur during adolescence include but are not limited to the following:
Social changes during adolescence may lead to the need for teen mental health care also. These social changes include but are not limited to the following:
These are all problems that can be improved with counseling.
Adolescents are essentially moving through this important period toward adulthood. Adolescence is a pivotal time of understanding and development where teens seek their identity, and they seek acceptance. Most teenagers can move through adolescence with very little difficulty. Arguments with parents are inevitable and friends will come and go, however, sometimes young people find it difficult and experience more extreme circumstances such as bullying or drug use. Although several very typical changes occur in adolescence, sometimes, teenagers require some help navigating the changes. Sometimes parents also need professional help navigating all of the changes. For teens and their parents, it always helps to have someone to talk to in addition to friends.
A good therapist trained in understanding the typical development of adolescents can help parents and the adolescent navigate this period. An online therapist who is trained in adolescent development and issues can prove beneficial and accepting during a counseling session. Therapy/counseling may encourage an understanding of the adolescent and the developmental aspects of this stage in life.
Typical human development, especially the developmental period called adolescence, can affect a person's behavior and state of mind, but it is not always negative. An ethical and caring online therapist can engage the adolescent in the positive aspects of growing, help them deal with the negative aspects of growing up, and provide them with useful coping skills. Counseling is a process of learning and listening to help teenagers and parents.
Issues that are often encountered in therapy and counseling for adolescents include but are not limited to the following teen problems:
The teen years are also a time when youth may experiment with drugs or alcohol. Medical reviewers confirm that most teens will not become addicted, however, any signs of teenagers' substance abuse should be taken seriously.
Any of these issues and others may have a profound effect on an adolescent or teens as they transition into adulthood. Some parents may wonder if talking to a therapist is worth considering for their teen. The truth is that almost any teen can benefit from talking to a therapist. Therapy can help them work through perhaps one of the first anxious moments of their lives as well as give them the tools to control such anxious feelings later on.
Topics Discussed in Teen Counseling
In the first counseling session or the first few sessions, your teen can usually expect counselors to talk through the teen’s life, including an overview of their upbringing, school, friends, family life, activities, etc. Later, therapists will usually try to identify areas of concern and work through them. Counselors provide support and treat any mental health concerns, including learning disabilities, behavioral concerns, anxiety disorders, autism, and other mental health problems. Many mental health issues could be covered in teen therapy, including depression, stress, and self-harm behaviors. Abuse and neglect can also be noted through counseling sessions or brief observations, as well as eating disorders and addictions. However, there is always some form of therapy session available for those who have other issues.
If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, please reach out for professional help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7.
There is no mental health problem too complex or too simple to be expressed and discussed during teen therapy sessions. To many teens, everything is monumental or serious. When a teen has their first experience with something difficult they may be unsure how to resolve it themselves, and therapy can help.
Some topics that teens are encouraged to discuss can include parental divorce, the death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, poverty, domestic violence, bullying, unrealistic responsibilities or expectations, sexual disease control, and other mental health problems.
Teen Counseling Options
Your counseling options depend on your child's situation or circumstances. A school counselor can be a great option for a teen, particularly when the areas of concern are school related. There are also various types of art therapies that can allow teens to express and treat their issues indirectly through some kind of creative task, such as painting or drawing.
For concerns stemming from more traumatic events, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) has been proven to be highly effective.
For certain serious mental health concerns—such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders—your teen may need to see a psychiatrist who can provide medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Often, a therapist will not be able to make a diagnosis or write a prescription, so a psychiatrist will typically be necessary to provide those services.
You can also consider reaching out to an organization like a teen therapy center, where your teen can receive tailored treatment. There are typically a variety of services available at a teen therapy center, including family therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy. Group therapy is one of the most useful services provided by a teen therapy center as it allows the teen to work with a therapist while discussing their concerns with other teens free of judgment.
Talk therapies are more common and helpful treatments for teenagers overall. Look for counselors who use only high-quality sources of research and the latest evidence-based research. Certified counselors will be able to retrieve information and provide peer-reviewed studies as performed by board-certified physicians and medical reviewers to help you and your child with specific issues.
These types of therapies can be found anywhere, but for your convenience, your teen can also speak with a qualified mental health professional through an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. The licensed therapists at BetterHelp know how to help you with coping skills so that you can support your teen in helpful ways. You can also utilize helpful tools and resources that will allow you to learn about mental health topics outside of sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When should I be concerned about my teenager?
Parents should be concerned about their teenagers when they have a sudden behavior change, their friend groups change, or they are suddenly isolating themselves. You should also be concerned if they’re showing signs of mental health problems or they’re shut down and refusing to talk about what’s troubling them.
Is therapy a good idea for teens?
It’s always a good idea to seek professional help if you are noticing specific symptoms of substance abuse, alcoholism, bullying, mental health issues, or any other area of concern. With therapy, teens can make better choices and live a happier healthier life.
What type of therapist should a teenager see?
If your teen needs counseling, it’s best to review the counselor’s credentials. Look for one that has experience in the types of issues your child has.
How do you know if you need to see a counselor?
You will know it’s time to see a counselor when your teen asks for help that you are not able to provide or you find yourself dealing with problems that are too much for you to handle.
What is the hardest age for a teenager?
There is no specific age for teenagers because teens mature at different rates. The age that is the most difficult for one teen will be different for another teen.
What are the signs of anxiety in a teenager?
The signs of anxiety are feeling restless or wound up, being tired, having trouble concentrating, and being irritable. Teens experiencing anxiety may also have physical issues such as achy muscles, stomachaches, insomnia, or headaches.
Why do teenagers need counseling?
Teenagers have a lot on their minds. Often, they just need someone to talk to, and they are uncomfortable speaking with their parents. Sometimes, a third party can better help them talk things out and think things through.
What is the best kind of therapy for teenagers having significant emotional problems?
Cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to have good results for teens who are having emotional difficulty. Depending on a teen’s diagnosis, other types of therapies may also be effective.
What is cognitive behavioral therapy for teens?
Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a form of treatment that is effective for a wide variety of psychological disorders. The goal of CBT is to help patients learn more helpful ways of thinking and give them strategies for coping.