Sometimes Teens come to see a therapist when…
Teens who are experiencing problems at school, family problems, difficulties with friends, or any other tough time often can use the support of a therapist. Teens see me when they are feeling sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed, fearful, or hopeless about what’s happening in their lives. I work with them to help them gain perspective on their problems, to talk about their feelings and thoughts so they make sense to them, and to help them sometimes find solutions that can help them with their problems.
I work with teens who are experiencing…
- ADD or ADHD problems affecting their lives
- Autism spectrum issues
- Chronic illness (e.g., asthma, cancer, diabetes, HIV)
- Family changes (like addiction, alcoholism, divorce, separation)
- Habits they want to no longer have (like nail biting, smoking, hair pulling, too much social media, addiction to drugs/pills/alcohol)
- Learning problems
- Low self-esteem and lack of friends
- Peer problems
- Recent re-location to a new school, home, city
- Sadness, depression
- Sibling problems
- Self-harming behavior (e.g., burns, cuts, other self-injuries)
- Trauma or traumatic event (such as someone dying, being injured, being assaulted, or being nervous about events going on in the world)
- Worries, being stressed out, anxiety
Does It Mean I’m “Crazy”?
Not at all. About 20% of teens seek counseling for a variety of reasons. I think they are brave and smart for doing so. It takes courage to work on your problems. And, actually, it makes logical sense to get help for a problem you cannot solve instead of bottling up your feelings and continuing to suffer. It is up to you whether or not you want to tell people you are going to therapy. It seems to me that most people tell maybe a few close friends they trust, people who support them. Whether or not you want to tell anyone is your business.
What If I’m Being Made to Come to Therapy?
If you “have” to come see me because your parents, teachers, or even the courts say you have to come to therapy, I would say try to have an open mind about how things could change due to our therapeutic relationship. I know that it feels awkward, especially if it’s not your idea, but these other people are probably noticing you are overly worried, sad, angry, or are behaving in ways that are self-destructive or dangerous. Likely, you, too, know you really need help.
What Is Therapy Like?
Most of my clients, teens and adults, say it feels so great to have someone “just to talk to” about their problems. It may be a few sessions before you feel you can share your personal information, or you might share right away. Either is perfectly fine because it takes a while to develop trust.
When you share your feelings and thoughts, I can help you assess what is wrong and how to change your behaviors. You will learn about yourself, grow stronger in your inner strengths and skills, and find solutions for your problems. I will work with you to help you determine what will make you feel better and we will set goals you can work on to make positive changes.
What Will You Tell My Parents (or Guardian)?
You have a legal right to privacy. As your therapist, I am ethically and legally bound to hold in confidence what you tell me in session. The only exceptions are if you are going to hurt yourself or someone else. Also, if you know of anyone being harmed or in danger, I might have to do something then. Otherwise, you would have to give me permission to talk about what you say in therapy—-even to your parents.
Sometimes, I ask parents to come talk to me for a parent consult so I can assess how they are feeling about how their parenting is going, but I still keep what you say to me in your private sessions out of those parenting consults.