Adolescents & Teens

Many challenges and rewards come from counseling adolescents. Teenagers struggle with different issues than younger children and adults such as identity struggles, extreme peer pressure and fitting in. They often feel stuck between wanting independence and still needing guidance. Teens are more likely than adults to make decisions without considering the consequences and feel invincible.

Therapists have to understand the developmental challenges of teens to provide effective counseling to them. Using their anger, confusion as a springboard to help them understand these feelings are normal but can be used for self-growth and change. Many times, teens who struggle with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety experience a lot of negative self-talk, which means that the thoughts they have about themselves are usually negative.

Instead of looking at a tough situation as a challenge, they already believe they’ll fail. They might see things as hopeless and have a pessimistic outlook on life. One technique you can use when counseling adolescents is helping them change these negative thoughts to positive ones. Helping them replace negative cognitions with realistic neutral or positive ones is key. It can be hard to cope with all the changes that happen during the pre-teen and teenage years. The rush of emotions and new experiences can often times be very overwhelming.

Some common issues in counseling adolescents and teens:

  • Depression

  • Sexual abuse/incest

  • Adoption

  • Identity confusion

  • Divorce of parents

  • Self-image / body image / self esteem

  • Eating disorders or food issues

  • Relationship issues

  • Making healthy positive choices