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Why Therapy?

Are they having difficulty finding or connecting with friends? Are they feeling sad or angry or challenged with trusting others so they are “isolating”? Or do they feel overwhelmed or rebellious against the “normal expectations”?  Perhaps they have stopped wanting to go to school, have starting hanging with “the wrong crowd” or even using drugs and alcohol to escape?

It is not out of the ordinary that some teens may feel shy, concerned about judgement or others assuming they have a mental illness.  For this reason and many others a teenager may not like to ask for help. However, when a teenager really understands how therapy works it can be much more interesting to them.


The truth is that most teens really do benefit from being able to work through their struggles and concerns by talking to someone they can trust.


Seeing a therapist may be a good option. A few things that a therapist is not:

  • an authority figure who will be demanding, pushy or judgmental.

  • a parent who might find it difficult to stay neutral and calm in the face of troubling stories.

  • a friend who might be insensitive or joke at the wrong time.


A therapist can be:

  • a trusted confidant or a coach who actually cares.

  • someone that can provide a safe place for teens to share their experiences and generally be accepted,

  • an encourager to explore new ways of thinking and acting.

  • someone who wants to build a strong and trustworthy relationship with your teenager.


  • a resource to assist in the process of family reconciliation .


Other symptoms that teens may have and gain a benefit from seeing a mental health professional, regardless of whether they have a mental illness:


  • Has a need for someone to listen

  • Has a desire to be understood by adults

  • Feels sad, depressed, or stressed

  • Feels confused about life

  • Cuts, burns, or hurts themselves regularly in some way

  • Has a problem with attention and memory, which is affecting school performance

  • Suffers from a chronic illness, such as diabetes or asthma

  • Struggles with food issues, such as dieting often or excessive eating

  • Trying to overcome the loss of a loved one or close friend

  • Experiences thoughts of suicide

  • Going through the divorce of their parents

  • Has developed a sexually transmitted disease

  • Feels the challenges of growing up in a family with addiction

  • Wants to quit an unhealthy habit such as smoking or excessive drinking

  • Wants to build self-confidence and make more friends

  • Wants to approach their parents with an important but uncomfortable topic

  • Needs reassurance from an adult other than parents

  • Having a hard time overcoming a traumatic event

  • Struggles with family relationships and wants help

  • Wants to heal from perfectionism

  • Needs help with gender role issues and sexual identity

  • Wants to better manage stress

  • Wants to have more meaningful relationships in life

  • Needs help with being pregnant and deciding whether to have the child

If you think about it we all spend considerable time and energy finding a family dentist, a good primary care doctor and even a mechanic that you can trust. When that relationship is established most people stick with that person for a good while. This can also be true with a youth and family therapist.

Please keep in mind, a therapist is usually only required to tell you about major safety concerns, such as suicide or child abuse. It is important that you respect your teenager’s privacy and understand that the therapist probably won’t tell you many details about the sessions.


If you are interested in finding out how therapy can help your teenager and family, please get in touch with me today. With the right match between a teen and therapist, it can be life changing.

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