Therapy for Adolescence
As teens grow, they are continually in the process of developing the social skills and emotional intelligence necessary to lead healthy, happy lives. If they experience emotions or engage in behaviours that interfere with their happiness and ability to thrive, they may benefit from meeting with a psychologist.
Adolescence is an important period in development, as it is the time in which we develop our identities – who we are. In this phase adolescents become more independent, push boundaries and begin to form identities based on experimentation with new behaviours and roles. Puberty usually occurs during this stage, bringing with it a host of physical and emotional changes. Changes during these often volatile adolescent years may strain parent-adolescent relationships, especially when new behaviours go beyond experimentation and cause problems at school or home, or if emotional highs and lows persist and lead to experiences such as anxiety or depression.
Therapy for teens is from 12 to 18 years of age.
Does My Teen Need Therapy?
Teenagers are expected to be emotional, dramatic and rebel from time to time. They are also known to sleep a lot and get involved in experimentation. So when do you know if your teen is just being a teen or is really struggling?
Possible signs of psychological distress or dysregulation in teens:
1. Change in behaviour patterns that seem extreme
2. Overwhelming emotions and trouble controlling them
4. Trouble at school - dropping academics or with teachers/pupils
5. Substance use
6. Risky and impulsive behaviours that are beyond experimentation
7. Self harm - cutting, burning, hitting walls, biting and picking at skin
8. Themes of feeling worthless or hopeless
9. Increased anxiety
10. Sexual problems
11. Expressions of not wanting to live
If your teen is showing some of these symptoms it may be helpful to take him/her to a psychologist for an assessment. Adolescence is a vulnerable time as the brain undergoes a massive reconstruction - thus their impulsiveness and emotional dysregulation. One of the main signs to look out for is withdrawal and increased emotional outbursts. Parents may feel overwhelmed or anxious as to what to do with their teen. Seeking psychological help will give you and your teen the necessary skills to understand and cope.
After making an appointment, an intake interview is scheduled with the parents or caregivers. This initial interview is used to gather information about the teen, the family and the presenting problem. After this, the therapist will see the teen to make an initial assessment. An assessment allows the therapist to decide the best treatment approach for the teen. Please communicate with your teen that they are going to therapy. It is important that they are onboard with the process. If your teen is resistant, acknowledge the emotion and negotiate for one session. The therapist can then work through this with you and your teen together.
Therapy usually occurs in weekly sessions for an average of 12 sessions. However, this will differ depending on the problem and the support of the parents. We integrate parental counselling with therapy as we believe that it is vital that parents are supported and given the necessary skills and understanding to develop a better relationship with their children.