"I'm fine, nothing's wrong!"
Most adults remember the difficulties of going through our adolescent and teenage years. These can be both fun and challenging times, and can be accompanied by high anxiety and bouts of depression. Anxiety and depression in teens can come out as frustration and anger. All of this is influenced by sudden shifts in hormones, so it can be difficult to tell what is really going on. To add another layer of complication, the wide spread use of social media has introduced a relatively new factor for the current generation in terms of socialization and, subsequently, self-esteem. Many teenagers will pull away from their families to spend more time with their friends. Typically speaking, this is a normal process. However, it becomes more worrisome when teens are completely isolating themselves and show a sudden dramatic change in personality and interest. Sometimes there can be so much going on within their minds that it feels too overwhelming to sort through. Much of the time, teens aren't eager to speak with their parents about what's going on, often because they feel embarrassed and uncomfortable discussing difficult and confusing emotions. This is where a therapist can step in to help teens find the right words to use, and to provide a safe, neutral space to untangle their thoughts and feelings.
Subtle differences in teen therapy...
Counseling sessions with teenagers are a bit more casual than with adults. We like to encourage teens to bring snacks or other items to keep their hands busy (e.g. crocheting materials, sketch pads, fidgets, etc.) to their counseling sessions if they are feeling hesitant to or nervous about therapy. For teenagers in particular, it can feel quite uncomfortable to sit face-to-face with an adult for an hour to discuss their emotions! Though it may sound counterintuitive, having something to focus their eyes on can actually help teens open up with their words more. If, however, a teen feels comfortable with traditional talk therapy, it's entirely fine not bringing anything additional to session. Another option is to do walk & talk therapy with teens around the Old Fair Oaks area.