So, what’s the deal with teen therapy?
Maybe you are familiar with child- focused therapy, family therapy, or individual therapy but what does teen therapy look like and why can it be so valuable?
Teenagers can sometimes confuse parents and parents can sometimes confuse teenagers. Let’s look at what can be most helpful in focusing on this crucial life stage.
Guidance and support in a safe space.
Let’s face it. Teenagers in 2019 have many competing factors for their attention: peers, parents, social media, school, etc. It can make it difficult to determine who to listen to with all those voices, much less find your own voice. Having a dedicated non-judgmental safe space to unpack and explore struggles can be so beneficial for teens.
Therapists can be trusted mentors to help bridge the gap between parents and teens to increase communication and increase cohesiveness in the family. Therapists respect confidentiality meaning that other than safety concerns, teenagers can express freely which creates the opportunity for personal growth and exploration.
Sorting out the ‘perfect storm.’
The combination of teenage hormones with the onset of mood disorders like depression can create a ‘perfect storm’ for both teens and parents. Therapists can assist with teasing apart the red flags from the ‘typical’ teen behavior and create a focused plan to address symptoms. Parents may notice that their teens are trying to cope with anxiety, managing school academics and pressures, perfectionism, substance use, and low self-esteem or struggles with body image.
If a teen experiences a traumatic event or the loss of a loved one, this adds an additional layer of feelings and thoughts to sort through. Teens are also navigating relationships and friendships on top of determining their own sense of values, priorities, and the ‘who am I?’ question. Having an ally during this time can help with processing and preparing for the next stages of growth and discovery.
Build tools for a lifetime
Learning helpful skills during the teenage years can further accelerate personal development into adulthood. Some examples are learning healthy boundary setting like ways to say no to too many demands and recognizing when to take a break. If teens can apply strategies to reduce depression and anxiety, they will be able to use them again in their adult life as well.
How powerful would it be if teenagers are self-aware to the point of noticing mood changes in themselves and recognizing when they may need support into adulthood? Being able to recognize symptoms of depression or anxiety returning can be so powerful in awareness of early treatment and overall functioning. This awareness can, in turn, impact the stigma of mental health as more people will be mindful and communicative about how they are feeling.
Let’s be a generation that equips our teens with emotional intelligence that serves them well now and into the future.
Want to learn more? Check out the book, ‘How to Talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk’ for great insight into communication with teenagers.
Wondering if therapy may be beneficial to your teen? Connect with us at FFT and let us partner with your family to find out. 😊