Does my teenager need counseling? How can I tell? How will it help?
These are questions we hear so often from parents. They often come to our office wondering, is my child just being a normal, moody teenager, or does he/she need some help? Knowing how tumultuous the teenage years can be, it makes sense that parents might wonder what qualifies as “normal”.
The most common concerns we see in our therapy practice are:
- Low self-esteem/lack of confidence
- Self-doubt / concerns about self-image
- Inability to manage stress
- Difficulty with relationships (with parents, siblings or friends)
- Inability to handle conflict
You might look at this list and think this is all pretty normal teenage stuff, and you’d be right! What parents need to look for, however, is when their teen’s inability to cope with these struggles in a healthy way leads to feeling overwhelmed, depressed or anxious. Or even more importantly, when they resort negative coping strategies such as apathy about school or the future, self-injury, drug/alcohol use or violence. When their inability to manage the stress starts to impact their daily lives, that’s a sign that it might be time to seek help.
So, how do we here at Colorado Teen Therapy approach counseling with teenagers?
Therapy is about so much more than just giving teens a place to vent and someone to listen to them. Our approach to counseling is strengths-based and solution-focused. With every teen client we meet, we seek to:
- Discover (or uncover) their strengths. We look at how they have successfully managed difficult situations in the past and how those strengths can be applied to their current situation.
- Encourage self-reflection. We help teens look inward and be honest about what they value and what their priorities are. It is so empowering for teens to reflect on what matters deeply to them – not what matters to their parents or teachers or coaches—but to them as individuals.
- Visualize how they want things to be different. Whether it’s approaching life with more confidence, coping with stress in healthier ways or building stronger friendships, we ask our teen clients to focus on the life they wish to have and then work together on strategies for making that happen.
- Empower them to make changes. We provide guidance, strategies and skills to help teens make the changes they have identified. We give them a safe place to dream, plan and try something new and also a safe place to share disappointment, struggles and frustration when there are obstacles or setbacks.
There is nothing more rewarding about the work we do than seeing teens allow themselves to be vulnerable, uncover their strengths, values and goals, and then make changes that lead them to approach life with more confidence and purpose. It can truly be a beautiful, life-changing transformation.
If you think your son or daughter could benefit from working with a therapist who specializes in counseling teens, please give us a call to set up an intake. At Colorado Teen Therapy, we are committed to helping teens thrive!