You’re concerned about your teen’s behavior. Lately, your son or daughter seems more irritable, depressed, or anxious Your teen is having trouble in school. They don’t seem to be getting along with their peers and that’s left you feeling very concerned. Adolescence is hard even in the best of situations. Teenagers face a combination of societal pressure, peer pressure, and academic pressure. Then, you add all of the changes they’re facing right now and everything going on in the world around them. At times, the stress can be debilitating. Your child is old enough to have their own thoughts, opinions, and identity. However, they still need guidance and support from you as their parent or caretaker. They may want independence, but they’re not quite ready for it yet. And, on top of it all, they are trying to create their own identity and figure out their place in the world. So, It’s no wonder so many teens experience mental health struggles.
Common reasons include: Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Self-Harm, Suicidal thoughts, Drug or Alcohol Use, Identity Confusion, Sexual or Gender Confusion, Issues at School, Problems Getting Along with Parents and/or siblings, Parental Divorce or Separation, Grief and Loss.
Did you know that your teen’s brain may not be fully developed until age 25? The teenage brain is still undergoing several changes that make it difficult for them to plan ahead, consider risk and reward, control their emotions, mitigate their impulses, and problem solve. These changes may lead to risky or seemingly thoughtless behavior. On top of it all, dopamine which is the pleasure chemical in the brain is easily activated in a teen’s brain. Doing things like hanging out with their friends, or engaging in pleasurable activities, makes them feel “alive.”
Unfortunately, because their brains are not fully developed, they are more inclined to seek this happy and stimulating feeling. They do so without any regard for the consequences of their actions. This can lead to teens being more susceptible to drug and alcohol use or hanging out with teens engaging in risky or thrill-seeking behaviors.
Maria will do her best to make counseling a very positive and healing experience. We want your teen to enjoy working with us. So, we will work hard at building a strong relationship with them so they will feel comfortable sharing their struggles.
In counseling, your teen will learn a variety of skills to help them cope with distress. We will help them uncover the source of their pain. Then, we will help them work through it in a safe and compassionate environment. We partner with your child to help them overcome the challenges they are facing. We promise to treat them with the utmost respect and compassion. As therapists, our first goal is to make them feel comfortable and heard. We understand that they may be very nervous to talk to an adult about the challenges they are having, but we’ve heard it all. Our therapists want your teen to feel respected, so we want them to have a say in the counseling process. We will treat them as equals and respect their opinions.
The types of treatments we use during counseling depend on the issues your teen is having and the goals we have for therapy. During your child’s intake appointment, you will be given a chance to meet with their therapist. At this consultation, you can express your concerns and identify some things you would like them to work on in counseling. In the first couple of sessions, your teen and their therapist will work on identifying their strengths and areas for improvement. They will also create a set of goals for therapy. Once your teen has established a relationship with their therapist they will be encouraged to talk about and process the things that are bothering them. They will learn and practice positive coping skills and mindfulness techniques.
We know that many teens may be busy. Between school, extracurricular activities, homework, and social obligations, there is very little time for therapy. We offer convenient night and weekend appointments to accommodate their schedule. We’ve found that many teens prefer the familiarity of meeting with a therapist online. And, online therapy is very successful in meeting their mental health goals.
As a parent, we absolutely understand how hard it is to watch your teen struggle. We know you want to be involved in their lives and help “fix” their problems. We understand your concern and your desire to be informed, but please trust our therapists with your teen’s care. We want your child to feel comfortable opening up to them without fear of punishment or judgment. Allowing your teen to share in a confidential place builds trust with their therapist. Then, they will open up and talk about the hard things. This allows progress to be made and goals to be met. Your child’s therapist will give you a brief overview of their progress after therapy. But, they will not tell you the nature of the things they discuss privately. However there is an exception to this, if the therapist feels that your child, or their behavior, poses a danger to themself or others then they are legally obligated to disclose this information.
How do I know if my child needs teen therapy or if we need family therapy?
This is a tough question! If your child is struggling with issues like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, PTSD, gender/sexuality identity issues, then they may prefer to meet with their therapist one-on-one. Likewise, if they are struggling to cope with school challenges or having issues their friends, then individual therapy is may the best bet for them. But, if your entire family is arguing, or if there are issues in your family that you believe are affecting your child, like divorce or a second marriage, then family therapy may help. Also, it’s possible that during the course of individual teen therapy we will determine that having a few sessions all together as a family may help.
What should I do if I think my child will hurt themselves?
If the threat of harm is imminent please take them to your local emergency room or call 9-1-1 or the national suicide hotline. Self-harm or suicidal thoughts should always be taken very seriously and be disclosed to a licensed mental health professional. If you ever feel like your child is a danger to themself or others, please let their therapist know immediately. Please, don’t wait to get help.
In-person, Teletherapy, Available 7 days a week.
Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist, Maria Velasco-Fontaine and team of professionals are available to provide a variety of psychological services, therapy, and Concierge treatment during weekdays, evenings, and on weekends.