Teenagers Too Need Counseling: See Ways to Encourage Your Teen to Attend.


Teen Counseling SessionAny parent of a teenager knows that teens have a lot of emotional ups and downs. What with the hormonal changes, pressures of school, their social lives, relationship issues and the general confusion that comes with growing up, it’s no wonder they occasionally get a little overwhelmed?

Surprisingly, all the problems teens face are connected to one another, like a chain reaction. When teens face self-esteem and body image problems, they can become frustrated, resulting in eating disorders. The teens start feeling stress when they are exposed to peer-pressure and competition at school or child abuse at home. Many teens take to drinking and smoking in order to relieve stress. Many may run away from home, play computer games, and start chatting online with strangers. Computer games and online chatting can result in addiction. Many teens feel further stress when they get bullied online. Others may become easy targets of online predators and once treated badly, they turn to more harmful practices. Those who cannot find love at home or support at schools start to build relationships with friends in school or local areas, resulting in unsafe or underage sex, and possible teen pregnancy. Many become addicted to drugs and harm themselves when they cannot get results. Many teens resort to crimes once they feel they cannot get any help or support.

Most of the time, all teenagers really need is the time and attention of their parents. But sometimes, problems come along that are a little more difficult to deal with, such as major life changes, prolonged mental stress, or tricky family issues. It’s at times like these that counseling services can be a great help.

In what kind of circumstances might a teen benefit from counseling?


Counseling can help with a whole range of issues, but some of the most common include:

Depression


Mood disorders often start during the teen years. And if left untreated, depression can last into adulthood. If your teen seems irritable, sad, and withdrawn, talk to your pediatrician. An accurate diagnosis and early intervention are key components for effective treatment.

Divorce and separation


Have you and your partner split up recently? Teenagers often struggle when it comes to significant life changes and separation or divorce can trigger a whole range of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, regret – or even guilt.

Bereavement


Has a member of the family died recently – or even within the past few years? If your son or daughter was particularly close to that person, they may benefit from having someone to help them process their feelings.

Bullying


Bullying can be particularly damaging because it so often goes unnoticed. If you think your son or daughter is being bullied, try to talk to them about it - and contact their school. Counseling can be an effective way of helping them rebuild their self-esteem and resilience following problems with bullying.

Stress at school


Just recently, thousands of students have faced the pressures of exams and are now waiting for results. Many struggles to deal with this – and worry about the consequences of not doing well.

Family issues


Often, what your teen is going through may relate to what’s happening with the family as a whole. In these cases, Family Counselling can be a good option.

Ways to Encourage Your Teen to Attend Counseling.


There are many reasons as to why teens may reject the idea of therapy. Here are some ways to navigate these reasons and encourage your teen to attend therapy:

Introduce Your Teenager to A Family Counselor Before Problems Arise


Why wait until your teenager is in crisis before encouraging the first visit with a therapist? Scheduling a one-time “get-to-know-you” session with a teen-focused therapist is a great way to dispel misconceptions about therapy and build an initial connection. This one-time visit also gives the teen an opportunity to interview the therapist and weigh-in with an opinion about the therapist. Teenagers are often surprised when they enjoy the initial session and may request follow-up sessions without your prompting.

Take The Lead and Go to Counseling Yourself


Nothing speaks louder to our children than our own actions. Your willingness as parents to attend therapy helps to normalize the therapy process for your kids. In fact, before starting therapy, begin to create a family culture where vulnerability is allowed and respected. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you, but shows you are courageous enough to grow. We’re comfortable taking our cars in for tune-ups, scanning our high-end computers for viruses—even our stock portfolios get a review from time to time. Why wouldn’t we take time to care for our minds?

Make Therapy a Family Problem


Stay open to the idea that you as the parent may be contributing to the problem. Sometimes it’s hard to see your own role in a teen’s problem when your teen is the one acting-out, yelling, and defying your rules. But psychological issues do not occur in a vacuum. In fact, all psychological issues, even neurologically-based disorders, occur within an environment. The most basic environment for a teen is his or her home life, so of course, the family will play a role in the teen’s psychological health. Your humility and willingness to acknowledge that you may play a role in the problem can help a teen acknowledge that he or she may also play a role in the problem.

Give Your Teen Ownership Over the Therapy Process


Teens want to feel respected too. In therapy, this respect begins with privacy. Allowing your teen to confide in some stranger can feel unnatural. You’ve invested your time and finances into raising this teenager and now some stranger has more information about your teen than you do.

But as tempting as it may be to ask your teen questions about her or his therapy, please know, your teen will resist therapy if what she or he said to the counselor gets back to you—whether it’s coerced by a parent or leaked by the therapist. Confidentiality is a cornerstone for successful counseling. Some exceptions exist to confidentiality—ask your prospective therapist about these exceptions.

Explain That Therapy for Teens Is Designed for Teens


Skillful therapists for teenagers will approach therapy differently for teens than they would for adults or even younger children. Connecting with a teenager often involves attending to the things that interest teenagers—e.g. music, relationships, freedoms, sports, their new car, events at school, etc. Tracking a teen’s interests not only makes the sessions fun for teenagers but sends a message that what matters to them matters to the therapist.

Forcing The Issue


Use force as a last resort. If your teenager’s problems are out-of-control, or scary enough, then you may need to force the issue. Examples of such issues could include legal trouble, health risks, drug abuse, running away, etc. But even for such scary reasons, you will want to encourage voluntary attendance as opposed to forcing the issue when possible. Voluntary attendance correlates with better treatment outcomes. If a teenager is in danger and unwilling to voluntarily seek help, then you may need to contact the police or call a local psychiatric hospital.

Final Thoughts 

If you think your teen would benefit from counseling, suggest it to them.

It’s important not to make them feel like it’s being suggested as a punishment, so don’t bring it up during an argument or when emotions are running high. Simply let them know you’re concerned about them and you want to help.

Further resource: https://www.regain.us/advice/counseling/

Article Courtesy

Healthy U Tube | modernghana.com | cherryhillcounseling.com/ | relate.org.uk
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