3 Benefits Of Individual Therapy For Teenagers
Your teenager doesn’t talk to you. You often wonder if she is OK. You want to help her, but you are not sure what to do. It turns out that parenting a teenager is much harder than you imagined it would be.
Does that sound familiar? If so, I want to share with you 3 reasons why individual therapy for your teenager might be the right choice.
1. Your teenager can get guidance and mentoring that is private.
It is no secret that most teenagers don’t like to ask for help and they are not usually quick to sign up for therapy. However, when a teenager really understands how therapy works it can be much more interesting to them.
Often teenagers don’t want to share their problems with their parents, whether they are worried about lectures, punishment or just being misunderstood. Many times they don’t feel comfortable really opening up to their friends either.
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.
That is where a good therapist can be a godsend. A therapist is not an authority figure who will be demanding, pushy or judgmental. They are not a parent who might find it difficult to stay neutral and calm in the face of troubling stories.
And a therapist is not a friend who might be insensitive or joke at the wrong time.
They are more like a trusted confidant or a coach who actually cares. Therapy is a safe place to share their experiences and generally be accepted, while being encouraged to explore new ways of thinking and acting.
This is a pretty unique opportunity. With the right match between a teen and therapist, it can be life changing.
For some tips on how to get started read my post on How to Get Your Teen into Counseling.
2. You can find out if your teenager is “normal” or if you should be more concerned.
All parents have concerns about their kids and this only sky rockets during the teen years.
I don’t even have room in this post to list all the things that can freak out the modern parent. Everything from drugs and sex to violent video games and pretty much the entire internet.
Pair these concerns with the normal experience of teens pulling away from their parents, prioritizing time with their friends and wanting increasing amounts of privacy.
You need some way to find out if your teenager is just grappling with the usual teen angst or if you should be more concerned about her mental health or emotional well being.
I always tell parents that the #1 thing to focus on is having a trusting and close relationship with their teenager (as much as possible). It is much, much harder to parent without this asset.
However, if that is not happening, a good therapist can help. After developing a strong relationship with your teenager the therapist can give you a solid assessment and some critical feedback.
They can tell you if your son or daughter is dealing with more serious anxiety or depression. They can tell you if the family relationships are the main source of your teen’s troubles. They can tell you if your teen just needs some support with their self-esteem or social skills.
This is vital information that can guide your decision making process and give you some ideas on how you can help.
Of course, I have to remind you about the privacy and confidentiality that I mentioned earlier. Therapists are 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.
However, a good collaborative teen therapist will be willing to communicate with you and give you some general information about the important issues as well as their recommendations.
3. A therapist can be a resource for your family throughout the teenage years.
If you can connect your teenager to a therapist that they like and trust, this could be a huge benefit for your family through these challenging years. It might be helpful to revisit therapy at different points during middle school or high school.
It makes it so much easier when you already have someone on your team who really knows your teen and your family.
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 family therapist.
A skilled and experienced teen therapist is a well of valuable information and wisdom. They can often provide a variety of services, including individual teen therapy, family therapy, parent coaching and possibly even group therapy.
Whether you are going through a tough time with your teenager right now or you are anticipating some stormy seas ahead, I truly believe that individual therapy can be transformative for your teen and your entire family.
Are you ready to take the next step?
Get in touch with us today and find out how counseling can help your teenager and your family.