How can psychotherapy help my teen?
Many parents wonder why they can’t act as their teens pseudo-therapist, the two of you may have a strong relationship, and so it is natural to want your child to come and talk to you about whatever is troubling them. However, there are times when what they are struggling with is developing their own sense of Self and so they have to separate from their parent in order to feel independent. A lot of times, teenagers are overwhelmed with feelings and emotions and they will use behavior as a way of trying to understand themselves. The behaviors may be impulsive, irrational, and seemingly out of character. Psychotherapy is a neutral place for your teen to gain clarity about why they do the things they do. New insights will help your teen control themselves as they improve coping strategies, self-esteem, and communication skills. Negative habits will be better understood and thus more easily changed.
What’s going on with my teen?
Freud described the teen years under the heading of “adolescent crisis,” explaining that chaotic, irrational behavior is considered “normal” for this stage of life. As teens leave childhood behind and head toward adulthood, they are not clear about all the feelings culminating inside of them and so they act out, either externally or internally, in order to try and resolve their confusion. Some act out more than others, but if your teen behaved perfectly it would be considered abnormal. While sometimes they seem grown-up, loving, and insightful, at other times they can be dark, hateful, and extremely upsetting. Therapy will give them extra support to better handle their emotional and developmental challenges. In psychotherapy teens begin to know themselves better, and hence, gain greater self-acceptance as they learn healthy ways to process their emotions in a less “crisis” oriented style.
What kind of issues can therapy be successful with?
Therapy is helpful in a myriad of ways for teens. Having a meaningful interpersonal relationship with a secure adult that is not a parent gives teens a space to be honest, feel heard, understood and clarify their dreams for the future. Issues focused on include:
- Sadness or Depression
- Anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts
- Poor grades
- Worry, excessive feelings of guilt
- Problems at school/peer pressures
- Interpersonal relationship problems
- Anger or Aggression
- Impulsive behaviors
- Body Dismorphia
- Eating Disorders/disordered eating
- Issues with sexuality