Struggling Teen? Teen Therapy Can Help

By Samantha Dewitt|Updated August 12, 2022

Does your teen seem to be having problems in their daily life? Some teens may be acting more hostile than they used to be, or argumentative without effective coping skills for teens. Other teens may be more withdrawn or moody. Maybe they just seem different from how they were before. Each of these things could be a normal part of teen mental health stages, growing up, and the changes that are going on as they become teens and adults. But can a minor sign indicate that something else is going on? The answer is yes. These changes in mood may also be linked to more concerning problems such as substance abuse, self-harm or suicidal ideation.

It's Painful To Watch Your Child Struggle

Understanding What Therapy Means

A lot of children and teens may be hesitant to attend teen counseling or therapy because they think that it will label them as being crazy. They might be afraid of being misunderstood, or of a therapist not believing what they're going through and just considering them 'children.'

The Therapist Is Here To Help

All too often teens are discounted, and their opinions are not considered or not considered fully because they are young. In teen therapy, it's important to explain to your teenager that they are going to be believed and that the therapist does want to help them feel more like themselves again.

Debunking Stereotypes

Teen therapy does not mean that they are crazy. In fact, it means that they recognize that there is a problem and that they want to get help. It means that they are in tune with their mind and body and it means that they are on the path to the life that they want to live again. Someone who is trying to cope with mental health or emotional issues can view teen therapy just like treating anything other issues they may have. If a car is damaged, a mechanic is needed. If they broke a leg, they would never expect to just get over it on their own. The same is true for someone living with depression or anxiety.

The Importance Of Therapy

As children are growing into adolescence and further into adulthood, it creates a very scary time for them. Everything around them is changing, and everything within them is changing as well. Their bodies are changing, their mental processing is changing, and their brain chemistry is changing. Outside of themselves, their friends are changing in all of the same ways and sometimes this leads to shifts in friendships, loss of friendships, and a lot more.

Not to mention, in teen years most start going to a new school, experiencing entirely new stressors and even experiencing even more pressure, both with school and with positive and negative influences in their lives. This is the time in many young people’s lives when severe mental health conditions can develop, which sometimes requires psychiatric care.

This is a terrifying place to be, and it's a place that nearly every teenager is going to find themselves in at some point. For some, it's possible to push through and manage well. However, most will do better if they're given some assistance along the way. Teen counseling or online therapy, which can involve phone calls and other remote modalities, is one way that they can get the help that they need and the support that they're looking for as they're going through these types of situations. Children and teens want to know that they're doing the right thing, and when their family is telling them one thing, their mind is telling them another thing, and their friends are telling them something else, it can become a difficult place to be in.

How Therapy Can Help

Getting your teen therapy from a licensed professional or teen therapy center, which is the next step after assistance from a school counselor, allows teens to express themselves and to talk about the things that are bothering them or that they are experiencing, without fear of being judged or labeled.

These counseling sessions, offered by a teen therapy center or virtual sessions offered by social workers or mental health professionals, can be good at helping teens with anxiety or who are struggling with mental health conditions like major depressive disorder. Video sessions can be cost effective, while in person therapy is more likely to be covered by an insurance provider, prescribe medications, and offer medication management.

Therapy also allows them to be open and honest about things that they may have done without the fear of punishment from their parents. It's important to explain to your child that therapy is a safe place for their mental health care. Their therapist is not allowed to talk about what's happening in the sessions specifically, and can only give a general overview for the parents of possible outcomes, with few exceptions such as active suicidal plans or reports of abuse.

Putting A Diagnosis To Feelings

A therapist can explain to the parents that they believe the minor child has depression or that they have anger problems or any number of other mental health conditions. But they are not able to express any of the specific situations or instances that the teen has told them, unless they believe that the child themself or others are in imminent danger. There are very few other exceptions to the law that requires therapists to keep their patient's secrets. This means that your teen can open up to their therapist completely, knowing that no one else will ever know what they say in their sessions.

Should Your Teen Be Going To Therapy?

If your teen seems to be struggling with their peers or friends, or if they seem to be changing a great deal in their personality or temperament, then it might be a good idea to have them attend at least a couple sessions with a therapist. If they are self-harming, experiencing suicidal ideation attempts, or if they are using alcohol or drugs, it's even more important to have them talk with someone.

Talking with a professional will allow them to express their thoughts and feelings. And whether they are currently experiencing a mental health crisis or facing the normal stress of being a teenager, it's not going to hurt anything to have them talk with someone. In fact, it's only going to help.

Having Someone To Talk To Can Help

Teen therapy is a great idea for just about anyone, whether they're struggling or not. Being able to be open and honest with someone is something that many people struggle with, even when they seem to be doing okay. By having a therapist that is always there and available for any type of situation, it's going to be easier for the teen to feel comfortable about the choices they're making in life. Even though a therapist is not going to give them specific advice or tell them what to do, having someone there to bounce their thoughts and ideas off of makes it easier for them to feel confident and start believing in themselves.

Types Of Therapy For Your Teen

There are several different types of therapy that your teen could have, but the general categories are individual, group or family therapy. You can always do a quick Google search for "teen therapist near me" to find out more about local options.

Individual Therapy

With individual therapy, your teen can talk with a therapist entirely alone. Everything that they say will be completely confidential, but it will be one-on-one with the therapist. They will get personalized help, and they may have their homework that they are expected to work on to keep moving forward and to work through the problems that they might be experiencing in different areas.

Group Therapy

Group therapy allows different teens to be put into a teen therapy session together. The idea here is that teens can all help each other because they're experiencing similar problems in their lives or similar mental health disorders. The group is generally kept small so that the leader or therapist will be able to manage everyone and keep the discussion focused around certain topics. It can be easier for teens to open up to each other and to help each other in these types of settings because there are some who have been getting help longer to motivate them, and some who have been getting help for a shorter time that they can mentor.

It's Painful To Watch Your Child Struggle

Finally, family therapy can be a great idea if there has been any dramatic change in the family environment. Families that have gone through loss or divorce can benefit from this. If anger problems or suicidal attempts have affected the entire family, this could also be a great way to work through the thoughts and feelings everyone has. The best part about this kind of teen therapy is that everyone in the family gets to talk about what they feel, what they think and what they need to be happy; even parents participate.

Getting Professional Help

When it comes down to it, the most important thing is to get the professional help that your teen feels comfortable with. Walking into a therapist's office can be difficult, especially if you live in a smaller area. Your teen may be embarrassed about seeking help for mental health and they might worry that they will be shamed or stigmatized by their peers. Because of these fears, your teen may be worried about being seen by someone they know while walking into their therapist’s office.

And if they’re battling these fears, teen therapy might be an added stress instead of a welcome relief. Obviously, you don’t want your child to experience needless distress, and that's why online mental health help can be a very important step. It allows your teen to get the help that they need without forcing them into a physical location that can easily be judged by those around them.


Online mental help, like with BetterHelp or Teen Counseling, allows your teen more access to therapists as well. It allows them to work with someone that they can feel comfortable with and that doesn't have to be located anywhere near them. Because the sessions are entirely online, there's no need for proximity. The therapist could be across the state or the country, making sure that they have access to the best therapist, not just the closest one. Some online therapies accept insurance plans, and BetterHelp encryption can securely process your private data.

Through online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can participate in phone sessions, video sessions, and chat room messaging with licensed professionals and licensed counselors. With BetterHelp, you can also manage settings for these virtual therapy sessions easily online. With parental consent, online video conferencing, video chat, and in person therapy can be an invaluable service for teens who want to improve their self esteem, coping skills, or receive general mental health care. They can decide on in person visits or virtual therapy, whatever works for them.

Commonly Asked Questions

What type of therapist should a teenager see?

If you think your teen may need mental health treatment, it may be useful to seek out licensed mental health professionals who operate out of a teen therapy center or teen online therapy platform. A teen therapy center may even offer a free consultation. That way, you know help comes in the form of licensed therapists who are specialized in assisting teens deal with mental health conditions, traumatic events, and self harm behaviors many youth struggle with.

Newer peer reviewed studies show that many teens may feel more engaged or comfortable when meeting with online therapists licensed in providing online services and emotional support for their mental health condition, coping skills, or any other mental health problems. Some teens, especially those with a severe mental health condition, may resent being forced to go to a teen therapy center, and might instead benefit from online mental health services led by licensed therapists or wellness professionals.

When should a teenager see a therapist?

Your teen doesn’t need to have a history of traumatic events, a major mental health condition, self harm behaviors, or suicidal thoughts in order to seek support from trained listeners, trained volunteers, or a licensed professional. The act of connecting with a licensed counselor for ongoing support, whether through a teen therapy center or virtual therapy platform, could simply be a matter of needing to work through low self esteem, difficult feelings, coping skills, or basic emotional support.

If a teenager feels they are receiving very little emotional support from family members compared to other teens, or that they need immediate help and crisis resources, they can always reach out to a teen therapy center and connect with licensed therapists who offer emotional support, where they can remain anonymous and utilize follow up visits.

Common Questions People Ask:

What type of therapist should a teenager see?
When should a teenager see a therapist?
Do teenagers benefit from therapy?
What's the youngest age you can go to therapy?
Is therapy awkward at first?
Do I need counseling or therapy?
Why is my teenage daughter is always angry?
Do I need a reason to go to therapy?
How do therapists engage resistant teens?
Should my teen see a psychiatrist?

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Speak with a Licensed Therapist
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