Getting Your Teen the Help That They Need
I Specialize in working with teens to help them address various issues they may be experiencing. I am passionate about helping them develop coping skills, increase self-esteem, improve personal relationships and navigating the transition of becoming more independent. I have a unique ability to get teens to feel comfortable and open up about their feelings and issues they are dealing with. Even the most shy or resistant teen eventually gets to the place where they can trust me as I emphasize rapport building early on. Trust, confidentiality, non-judgmental support, and validation are the most important building blocks with teens.
Is Therapy Right For My Teen?
Being an aware and observant parent is important during this phase of your child’s life. By knowing what is typical for your teen in terms of behaviors, emotions and social interactions, you’ll be able to more easily identify changes that may warrant attention. Below are some examples of what to look for and keep on your radar.
Be alert for emotional changes, such as:
- Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
- Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Irritable or annoyed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
Watch for changes in behavior, such as:
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Social isolation
- Poor school performance or frequent absences from school
- Procrastinates on, or has difficulty concentrating on, homework assignments more than usual
- Less attention to personal hygiene or appearance
- Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behavior, or other acting-out behaviors
- Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing
- Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt
What’s Normal and What’s Not?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between ups and downs that are just part of being a teenager and teen depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. My best advice is to talk with your teen. Sometimes a simple question will give them permission to verbalize what they are feeling. I hear so much from teens that they wish someone would have just asked the right questions sooner because they didn’t know how to start the conversation. Talk with your teen and try to determine whether he or she seems capable of managing challenging feelings, or if life seems overwhelming.
Depression, anxiety and other symptoms affecting their daily functioning likely won’t get better on their own — and they may get worse or lead to other problems if untreated. If your teen seems like they could benefit from therapy or just another added support in their life, I’m here to help!