Adolescence is one of the most challenging and important periods of a person’s development. Teenagers are beginning to learn more about the world and develop their own perspectives, but with greater understanding comes greater struggles.
Many people experience their first mental illness during adolescence. Depression, anxiety and eating disorders are common during this age period; many parents are shocked to discover their once well-mannered child is now a rowdy, out-of-control teen.
Seeking answers in therapy is the best way to give your child the help they need. Learning about mental health now can prevent greater problems later. Understanding the adolescent brain and your adolescent’s experiences is paramount!
Therapy for Teens
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to become moody, enjoy being alone or start to bend the rules. During this stage, identity is evolving, and adolescence is a period marked by exploration and curiosity. Teens may start to question their sexuality, gender identity, religion or other aspects of their life that can be difficult to tackle on their own.
During this period of experimentation, some teens develop substance abuse problems or even addiction. Parents who want to help often find themselves trapped in a cycle of conflict that only pushes their child further away.
Family therapy and adolescent counseling can go hand-in-hand; individual counseling helps teens address their mental health constructively, while family therapy helps parents and children communicate and support one another better.
Top Reasons Teens Go to Therapy
Some of the most common reasons teenagers are referred to therapy are behavioral issues and mental health struggles. Many parents do not recognize that rebellious behavior is tied to an underlying cause; substance abuse can be used to cope with anxiety and depression, while eating disorders may arise as a result of bullying or low self-esteem.
Adolescent counseling can also help teens learn how to navigate new experiences in a healthy way; dating is a major source of stress for teens, and learning about how to set healthy boundaries can help prevent abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional trauma.
Therapy can also help your teenager learn how to manage stress, how to cope with bullying, how to build healthy self-esteem and how to handle difficult emotions.
LGBT Teen Therapy
During adolescence, many young people start to realize they are attracted to the opposite sex, both sexes or that they do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. LGBT teens are at a higher risk of depression, self-harm and suicide. Therapy can help your teen explore their feelings around sexuality and gender identity in a non-judgemental environment.
It’s often difficult for teens to discuss their feelings openly without feeling ridiculed or afraid of rejection. Therapy can help adolescents become more comfortable with vulnerability, and learn how to get in touch with the full scale of their emotions.