Are You Struggling to Navigate the Challenges of Adolescence?
The teenage years can be ever-changing and difficult.
If you are a teenager, do any of these statements sound like you?
- Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities and changes in your life?
- Do you feel super stressed about getting into and going to “the right” college?
- Are you worried that one wrong move will ruin your entire life?
- Do you feel judged, misunderstood, left out, or like you’re just too different?
Do you wish you could better understand what you’re going through, value the person you are, and feel empowered to make it through these difficult years with confidence and grace?
Or maybe you’re the parent of a teenager. Have you noticed any of the following in your teen?
- Concerning changes in behavior such as a sudden drop in grades, emotional outbursts, or social withdrawal
- Perfectionism, extreme stress, or panic attacks
- The inability to handle certain situations
- Refusing to open up, even when you are really trying to help
Perhaps you and your teen have been fighting more and more, and you don’t know what to do with the explosive emotional outbursts, especially if it seems you’ve exhausted every method of communicating with your teenager. Do you feel as though you don’t know your child anymore? Do you wish you could understand your teen’s experience and help him or her effectively manage stress, self-doubt, and uncertainty?
Adolescence Is a Time of Difficult, Confusing, and Exciting Change
In addition to the social and academic demands of the teenage years, there are important, and often challenging, changes in how our brains function during this time period. Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain undergoes a major restructuring, and as it develops and “remodels” itself, it doesn’t exactly resemble the brain of a child or an adult. Instead, the adolescent brain is in a unique stage of growth and change. As a result, teenagers’ emotions and behaviors also change, sometimes in confusing and frustrating ways. It’s important to understand that a teenager’s fears, sadness, and other emotions aren’t just symptoms of “raging hormones” or “teen angst.” Rather, they are a reflection of real biological changes that help teenagers become independent adults. During this time, many teenagers experience a shift in priorities and interests as they try to figure out how to fit in and forge their own paths. They may also find themselves struggling with a previously dormant mental health concern, such as depression or anxiety.
Whether you are an overwhelmed teenager or a worried parent, you are not alone, and your concerns and struggles deserve to be recognized, validated, and taken seriously. During this time of upheaval, many teens and parents need extra guidance and support.
Teen Counseling Helps Teens Feel Supported, Understood, and Valued
So many teens feel alone in their struggles and worry that something is “wrong” with them. Counseling can, first and foremost, help teens and their parents understand the changes that come with adolescence. By talking with a trained, compassionate expert, you can express and unpack your unique feelings, thoughts, and experience while learning more about the challenges so many teenagers share. There can be so much relief in the discovery that you are neither alone nor broken. Through engaging with proven therapy techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), teens can start making changes to their thoughts and actions that will actually influence brain development in positive, long-lasting ways.
If you are a teenager, we will do most of our sessions one-on-one. You can always request that your parent(s) or caregiver(s) join us in sessions, but the choice is up to you. During teen therapy, you can share anything and everything that’s on your mind, and I will never judge you or tell you what to do. However, if you want advice and guidance from an objective adult, I can offer you suggestions, strategies, and tools based on your particular concerns, personality, needs, and therapy goals. I can also help you look at complicated situations with new eyes and identify new, productive, and self-affirming ways to respond to life’s challenges as they arise.
If you are a parent, teen counseling can help you develop new communication skills that allow you to both maintain healthy boundaries and allow for your teen’s increased independence and individual growth. While you may not join your teen in most sessions, you can check in with me at the beginning or end of sessions to express concerns, hear about basic topics of discussion, or learn specific skills you can help your teen practice at home. Out of respect for your teen’s privacy, I won’t share any details of his or her sessions unless I have a safety concern. By offering your teen a safe space to work through issues, practice emotional self-regulation, and develop greater calm and self-esteem, you can lay the groundwork for a stronger, more connected parent-child relationship. And, as a parent, you can feel assured that your teen is—and will be—okay.
I have been working in counseling for teens for over 10 years, and I know that so many teenagers feel out of place and unsure about their roles in their own lives. So many parents worry about their teens and wonder how they can help them find satisfaction and success. Thankfully, the pain, confusion, and frustration of adolescence don’t last forever. If you or your teen is struggling with a mental health issue that goes beyond stress or self-doubt, intervening now can help you or your teen develop the valuable skills needed for long-term wellbeing. No matter what you or your teen is experiencing, there is help and hope for a brighter future.
You many have questions or concerns about counseling for teens…
Will therapy conflict with school or extracurriculars?
Because I know how busy teens’ schedules can be, I offer some after school counseling appointments. However, these fill up fast. I also try to work with teens to schedule sessions during study hall or other periods that more easily allow for absences. Classes and extracurriculars are important, however worry, sadness, relationship issues, and other concerns can make it difficult to fully engage in the task at hand. Teen therapy can lead to long-term relief, and seeking help now can be the most valuable thing you do for the future.
I already feel like I don’t belong. Won’t people judge me more if they know I’m attending teen counseling?
As we work together, it will be my first priority to assure you that you’re not alone, and you’re not “weird” or “broken” for how you’ve been feeling. You do belong, just as you are. Your intense emotions and reactions are responses to the changes happening in your brain and body, which are necessary to help you become an independent adult. In sessions, I can help you feel less out of place and more prepared to deal with stressors and conflicts. Furthermore, teen therapy is completely confidential, and no one needs to know you’re attending unless you share that information yourself. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, it demonstrates strength and the willingness to create a better life.
Why can’t my son or daughter just talk to me?
Communicating with your teenager can be tricky, especially while he or she is in the midst of establishing his or her independence. Sometimes, teenagers simply don’t want to talk to their parents. This can be painful, and if your teen is withdrawing or lashing out, you might find yourself being emotional in response, perhaps sometimes saying or doing something you regret. This is completely understandable, especially if you fear for your teen’s overall wellbeing. As an objective, trained therapist for teens, I can bring a different perspective to your teen’s concerns. I can also help your teen learn how to approach and resolve challenges on his or her own, which is important as he or she moves into adulthood. As your teen and I work together and he or she develops healthy methods of self-expression, I can encourage him or her to be more open and honest with you. And, by learning about the science behind your teen’s experience, you can develop healthier ways of listening and responding to his or her thoughts and feelings. Counseling for teens can improve overall communication and connection for everyone.
You and Your Teen Aren’t Alone
I invite you to click this link to sign up for my newsletter and blog. There, you can learn more about my practice and teen counseling in Houston, TX. You can also take a look at these frequently asked questions. When you are ready to schedule an appointment, please give me a call at 713-702-3770
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