Therapy for teens: What to expect

Adolescence is a difficult time for most teens. They are trying to find a sense of belonging in gangs, get involved in drug abuse, try to fill a void hanging out with the wrong people, are under pressure from peers and parents and most of them suffer from school bullying.

Even though all teens have problems and go through difficult times, there are some cases in which it’s of paramount importance to seek professional help. It’s commonly believed that therapy is only reserved for people who are mentally disturbed. This belief is far from being true since everyone needs to talk to a counselor so as to prevent minor issues from becoming serious mental health problems.

If your teen has swiftly moods or is overwhelmed, BetterHelp can help you with this. You’ll probably want to make an appointment with a therapist or counselor. Most adolescents find it difficult to communicate with their parents, but they’re highly likely to open up with a professional to talk about family trouble, school problems, bullying, health problems, among other issues.

Some parents are reluctant to send their children to therapy because they believe it might stigmatize them or just consider it taboo. Others think that if their kids receive a couple of sessions with a counselor it implies they’ve failed as parents.

Parents need to know that the best way to demonstrate how they love and care for their adolescent children is helping them to seek professional help if they need it. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a psychologist if your teen can’t cope with problems on his/her own.

If your teen has decided to go to therapy it’s quite common she/he doesn’t know what to expect. There are a couple of facts and myths about therapy that teenagers need to know before seeing a mental health professional.

What’s a mental health problem?

Having a mental health problem doesn’t mean adolescents are mentally ill. A mental illness affects the way a person acts, feels, reacts, behaves, and thinks. If teenagers’ behavior, feelings, or thoughts affect their daily life routine, it’s possible they need to talk about their concerns with a mental health professional.

Common mental problems that commonly affect teens range from painful feelings such as sadness, anger, low self-esteem, or sadness to conditions like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or self-injury.  In such cases, it’s important parents seek professional help so as to treat these conditions.

Is it true that only “crazy” people go to therapy?

It’s totally untrue. All teens have problems they can’t cope with alone. Many of them are reluctant to talk to their parents about their worries or concerns. It’s quite understandable. If so, talking to a counselor has a lot of benefits. As professionals, they won’t judge their patients and will be able to listen to them carefully so as to provide a tailored therapy.

In the world, almost 1 out of 5 teens attend sessions with a therapist. There’s nothing to be ashamed of since seeing a mental health expert is similar to seeing any other doctor when you’re ill.

Why is puberty a period of turmoil?

It’s said that growing up is not easy at all, it hurts.  During puberty, teens experience a lot of changes such as physical, hormonal, their feelings are different as well as their desires.

During this phase, adolescents struggle to gain independence and autonomy. They believe they are able to be self-sufficient but- in fact- they haven’t developed the necessary skills to obtain their goals.

As a consequence, they experience mood and behavioral changes that affect their family and peer relationships as well as their school development.

What kind of therapy is appropriate for teens?

There are many kinds of therapies that are appropriate for teens. The approach will depend on the problem the teenager is going through. They can be individual, group, family, or a combination of two of them.

Individual therapy takes from 45 to 60 minutes once a week. During those sessions, teens can feel free to talk to the counselor about her/his feelings and problems. Most therapists assign in-between sessions homework to put into practice at home.

Group therapy takes place with other teens so they can notice everyone is struggling with the same issues. Groups are small so everyone can express their opinions and feelings.

Family therapy involves the whole family since there are certain issues that not only affect your adolescent but also your parents and siblings.

What happens in therapy?

During a therapy session, they’ll be able to talk freely about your problems and how you feel about them. In this way, the counselor can have a whole picture of what’s going on with the patient.

The main goal of therapy is having a fluid conversation where both therapists and patients talk to and listen to each other.  Some therapists do some activities where the patient needs to learn new skills, how to control their emotions or solve problems.

Do they need to see a therapist for life?

No, they don’t. Teenagers go to therapy sessions as long as they feel they need them. Depending on the problem they’re going through, sessions may last up to three months. For more complex problems, teenagers may see a therapist for almost a year.

It also depends on the adolescent’s goal and how quickly he/she progresses.

It’s important to highlight that therapy won’t solve any problem. The patient and the therapist should work together in order to achieve the set goals.  Counselors are there to help teenagers when they need support and advice but if they don’t cooperate to go ahead therapy doesn’t make any sense.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].