Being a teenager isn’t easy.
From mood swings to facing pressures in school and social life, all teens experience problems. Some can deal with these problems on their own, but some experience a higher level of distress. Such teens often end up shutting themselves off from others.
And the result?
A host of mental health issues that plague the adolescent through their teenage and adult years.
And this is where teen counseling comes in.
Teen therapy can help your teenage son or daughter deal with the various pressures that come with being an adolescent.
In this in-depth guide, you’ll learn all you need to know about teenage counseling and how it can help your adolescent son or daughter cope with the issues they face in their lives.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Let’s get right into it.
What is Teen Counseling?
The teenage years (between 10-19 years) entail many mental and physical changes in young adults.
In most occasions, these changes often result in a teen experiencing reduced confidence levels, mood swings as well as increased sensitivity.
Teen counseling aims to help adolescents make sense of these changes, thus allowing a smoother transition into adulthood. This type of counseling mainly entails assisting young adults in making sense of their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings.
Why is Teen Counseling Important?
Being a parent of a teenager is no easy task.
Other than the mood fluctuations, you also have to continually monitor and supervise your child to ensure they don’t make the wrong decisions.
However, your urge to protect your child only leads to them being distant. Most teenagers often feel as if their parents are putting too much pressure on them and in turn withdraw.
Which is where teen counseling comes in. Young adult counselors are professionals trained to address the mental health concerns and various issues that adolescents go through: it could be an eating disorder, relationship issues or issues with some family members.
Most teenagers find it hard to talk to their parents. However, teen counselors are qualified mental health professionals who are trained on how to listen to teenagers. Your adolescent son or daughter is more likely to open up to their therapist as opposed to you.
Meeting a teen therapist allows your son or daughter to talk about a wide range of topics during the counseling sessions — from sexual identity issues, coping skills to problems in the school and home environment.
In the next section, we’ll discuss some of the reasons why teens go for therapy.
Reasons Why Teens Go to Counseling
Some parents are lucky.
Their kids go through adolescents with no significant issues. However, for a high percentage of parents, the teenage years are a stressful period.
- “He was such a happy child.”
- “She used to be so friendly and playful.”
- “She was so easy to talk to.”
These are some of the statements you’ll hear from the parents of many teens. Unfortunately, most parents will make these statements without understanding the underlying issues behind the changes.
Some will try to solve the problems themselves. To some parents, seeking therapy or teen coaching is an admission of failure as a parent.
However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. While it’s advisable to always talk to your child, some circumstances may require you to seek professional help.
Below are examples of the issues that may require the help of teen therapists:
- Anxiety disorders
- Divorce and separation
- Self-esteem issue
- Eating disorders
- Behavior problems
- Substance abuse
Teen therapy could be what helps prevent a minor issue from turning into a major problem.
But how do I know if my child needs therapy?
Keep reading to learn more!
When Should I Seek Teen Counseling?
Most parents rarely notice when the above issues start occurring. Part of this is because most teenagers will prefer to internalize problems rather than communicate about them openly.
Which is why it’s essential to look out for signs of trouble. If you notice any of these signs consider seeking professional help:
Change in Behavior
Has your son or daughter started to act out? Are they getting in trouble more often than before? Perhaps they’ve become withdrawn.
A sudden change in behaviour can be an indicator that things are not right. However, it could also be part of their development.
Before seeking therapy, take time and try to talk to your son or daughter.
Drop in school grades
Have you noticed a significant drop in your child’s grades?
A drop in school performance can indicate that your child is either distracted or upset. Take time to talk to their teacher first to understand the decline in performance.
After talking to the teacher, you can then decide on the next steps.
Has your child been experiencing frequent headaches or tummy aches? Do they seem less motivated?
These could be signs of anxiety.
Before coming to any conclusions, first visit a paediatrician who’ll likely recommend seeking counseling help if there’s no underlying health issue.
Change in sleep pattern
Is your son or daughter always tired in the morning? Do they always look sleepy? Could be they are having trouble falling asleep.
Which could be a sign of anxiety.
Or maybe they are always sleeping, which is a sign of being demoralized and depressed.
Whichever the circumstance, a change in your child’s sleep pattern is a sign of an underlying issue.
Now that you know the warning signs, how do you pick the right teen therapist?
The next section will outline some of the factors to consider when choosing a teen counselor.
What to Look for in a Teen Counselor?
Working with young people comes with its own unique set of challenges. When choosing a therapist for your child, consider the following factors:
Does the couselor have any experience working with young adults? Make sure you hire a therapist who has previously worked with adolescents.
Note that teens are not a junior version of adults. They have their unique problems, which is why you need an individual with teen counseling experience.
One of the best ways to choose a teen counselor is through referrals. Take time to ask around.
You can ask your child guidance counselor, or a trusted friend to give you a referral to a good adolescent therapist.
Look for a therapist that’s located in your area.
Here’s where referrals come in. They’ll help you in deciding on the best young adult counselor in your area.
What does your Son or Daughter Prefer?
It’s your son or daughter who’ll have to sit through counseling. Which is why their opinion is essential. Make sure that your teen is comfortable with their therapist.
Ask about their preferences.
- Who are they more likely to respond to?
- Does he or she prefer a male or female counselor?
- Is age a factor?
Understanding your son or daughter’s preference could be the defining factor in whether counseling is successful or not.
Therapeutic Approach Used
Different counselors employ a wide range of approaches when working with teens.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with each of the methods before choosing the best therapist. Your ideal therapist should use an approach that’s based on the issues that your teen is struggling with.
But, how do I know the right technique for my teen?
Keep reading to find out.
Teen Counselling Techniques
Below is a list of seven typical strategies that many adolescent therapists use.
One of the first things a teen counselor does is to establish trust between them and your teenage son or daughter.
A counselor builds rapport by asking questions that allow him to learn a teen’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, and social group.
Do you remember your teenage years? Most of the time, you felt alone and isolated—as if no one else had problems.
Group counseling works by changing this feeling. Group sessions allow participants to share their issues; therefore, let your son and daughter insight that other people are facing the same problem.
Talk therapy is one of the most common counseling techniques.
And for a good reason.
It provides a safe space where your troubled teenager can feel comfortable and discuss their problems and concerns.
This technique entails the client (teen) taking control of the conversation. The counselor’s job is to listen and ask questions to drive the conversation further.
Talk therapy allows your adolescent son and daughter a chance to vent and speak out. This kind of individual therapy will enable the teen (client) to articulate their problem in their own words and gain clarity.
Adolescents listen to music for an average of three hours a day. To most teens, music is a mirror that reflects what’s happening in their lives.
Which is why music therapy is so useful when used in young adult counseling.
Counselors who use this technique encourage their clients (teens) to pick songs that they feel relates to their current situation. The counselor and the teen then listen to the songs together, with the therapist requiring the adolescent to pick out lyrics that have the most significant impact.
Through the use of songs, a counselor can get a more in-depth insight into the issues that affect the teenager; thus, direct the conversation from there.
Worksheets are a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic technique used to outline tendencies and behaviors that one may need to change.
When conducting counseling for young adults, worksheets are used to help teens articulate and process what’s going on in their minds.
The simple act of writing down their problems provides a way for a teen to release the hard feelings and tension he or she may be holding back.
Related: More about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Replacing Negative Self Talk with Positive
One of the main reasons why most teens go for counseling is low self-esteem. Many teenagers tend to think the worst about themselves, which results in a host of negative emotions.
Young adult therapists can help teens with low self-esteem and self confidence by guiding how to reverse negative self-talk to positive thoughts.
Don’t Let Your Teen Go Through Mental Health Issues Alone.
There you go.
A complete guide on teen counseling. Now you can choose the right young adult counselor near you for your loves ones.
If you feel like your son or daughter is having a hard time and needs counseling, the best thing is to suggest it to them.