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The Necessity of Counseling for Teens

Adolescence is a difficult life stage. It's not quite childhood anymore, but it's not adulthood either. Teens are pulling away from their parents, rebelling, experimenting, and exploring. If provided with the right tools, this stage of life can be an exciting one. However, sometimes, circumstances at home or school can create challenges for teens - challenges that are above and beyond what they already face as adolescents.

Often, some teens find it hard to talk to their parents. If it is a sensitive issue, like depression, teens may not feel comfortable talking to a friend either. In some cases, bringing your teen to a therapist can be a brilliant solution. Of course, the therapist-teen relationship shouldn't take the place of a parent-teen relationship. If anything, bringing your teen to a therapist should support the parent-teen relationship.

However, many parents find it difficult to decipher the general woes of adolescence versus a bona fide psychological concern. It's difficult to know sometimes whether the behavior of your child is worth bringing to a mental health professional. Besides, your child is a teenager now, and perhaps all of this is a part of adolescence. Maybe the changes in his or her eating habits, sleeping habits, social skills, and mood swings are all a part of the growth taking place during adolescence. This could very well be true.

Yet, it's also important to keep in mind that adolescence brings drastic changes - physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually. However, there are some factors to look for to determine whether bringing your teen to a therapist is best. For instance, the following circumstances can indicate whether the emotional distress your teen is experiencing warrants professional assistance:

When a teen's situation:

·         disrupts his or her daily functioning

·         threatens to overwhelm the child

·         interferes with the achievement of age-appropriate developmental milestones

For example, if you and your spouse were divorcing, a child, depending on his or her age, might respond in a variety of ways. However, some teens may move through the change easily with little effect on his or her emotional or psychological wellbeing. On the other hand, some teens might suddenly do poorly in school, develop a fear of sleeping alone, experience heightened anxiety, or demonstrate signs of depression. In this case, therapy could be very useful for the teen. 

 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.