Is Your Teen Anxious Or Apathetic About Their Future?
Has your child taken “teen angst” to a whole new level? Has their behavior reached a point where you’re concerned that they might have depression or an anxiety disorder?
Maybe their school performance has been suffering because they feel pressure to achieve perfect grades so they can get into a good college. This academic competition could bleed into their social lives, keeping them from spending more time with their peers. There may even be a feeling of competition among your child’s friends to get the best grades or be admitted to the best schools. This constant pressure to do well, the temptation to compare, and their deep fear of failure may be causing your teen too much stress during their junior and senior years—a time they should be enjoying.
You’re afraid of seeing your bright, intelligent teenager crumble under the stress of trying to be perfect. All the standardized tests, the applications, and entrance essays are so much more complex than when you applied to college, and you may not know how you can help. Do you wish your teen had someone to talk to who could help them navigate this stressful, confusing process? Are you willing to work with a professional who has experience with helping teenagers in situations like yours?
Performance Anxiety Among Teens Is At An All-Time High
While social pressure among teenagers is as old as humanity itself, social media makes it easier these days for teens to compare themselves to their peers and feel inadequate. A screenshot of a college acceptance letter or bragging status update can have a big impact on their self-esteem and self-worth. In many communities, being admitted to certain colleges is seen as a status symbol: the better the school, the smarter and more valuable the student, and the more prosperous the family. Teens from less affluent homes or with slightly less impressive grades, may feel lost and deeply insecure.
Teen psychotherapy can help by giving your teenager someone to talk to who doesn’t have a stake in the game, so to speak. I’m not their parent, so they don’t have to worry about impressing or disappointing me. But I provide a safe space to vent and be honest for the same reason. Your teen may feel more comfortable expressing their feelings in ways they can’t in front of you (which isn’t a reflection on your parenting skills, of course). Teen counseling helps your teenager develop more confidence in themselves and about their future.
Counseling Helps Teens Develop Confidence And Perspective
You love your child and don’t want them to spend the remainder of their childhood feeling stressed to the point of exhaustion. Teen counseling will help them feel better about themselves, more positive about their futures, and confident in social situations. I have years of experience treating teenagers and, during that time, have seen many grow from being agitated and insecure to thriving and content.
One of the primary methods I use in counseling is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Because teenagers have a tendency to be dramatic, CBT not only helps them to accurately understand their situation, it also helps explain what is happening neurologically. Their brains are still developing in the limbic function (the system that deals with emotions, memory, and stimulation), which is why their emotions feel so intense. Verbally expressing their feelings will help teens to slow down and process the emotions that stress them out most.
Typically, teenagers want to communicate their feelings to their parents, but they just don’t have the right vocabulary to describe how they feel. Many of them also don’t know if what they feel is anger or anxiety. I can help guide them to accurately identify their feelings so they can better deal with them. At the same time, it’s important to educate teens about why their parents are so concerned about them and help them to understand that adults often see the “bigger picture” that they cannot yet recognize.
To encompass the whole family, I also use a process called relational therapy, which provides your teen with tools to build a better relationship with you, the parents. Your entire family can learn improved skills to relate better to each other with more effective communication. The adolescent phase of life is a transition, and any problems are fixable and temporary—not long-lasting.
Focusing on long-term goals can help your teen develop a healthier perspective and improved mood in the short-term. As a teen therapist, I can provide your child with the tools to communicate better with you, without resorting to fights or increased tension. Counseling can help improve the atmosphere in your home, resulting in a calmer environment for the whole family.
You May Have Some Concerns About Teen Counseling…
My teenager doesn’t talk to me anymore, I doubt they will want to share their problems with a stranger.
I don’t start my sessions by immediately asking personal questions or probing too deeply into my teen clients’ lives. I’m very good at first building a rapport to create a stable, trusting environment for counseling. Also, since I’m not their parent, teens are less concerned about what they say in front of me.
My teen doesn’t think counseling will help them.
It’s not uncommon for teens to think they can handle everything on their own. I won’t start the sessions by explaining how I can “fix” them, but instead, I will lead each session by simply starting a conversation. During that part of the session, I’ll take stock of the situation(s) that brought the teen to counseling in the first place, go through the events of their day, and unwrap their feelings along the way. This will help your teen feel like they are confiding in a mentor rather than being “evaluated,” like they are by their teachers.
My teen is apathetic about their future. How will counseling help?
We will talk about what your teen wants out of life: where they see themselves a few years from now, what they are passionate about, etc. Talking about themselves in this way helps teens verbally process their unmet needs, which makes the solutions more apparent with each session.
Counseling Can Help Your Teen To Feel Calm and Confident About Their Future
If you are ready to schedule an appointment with a teen therapist, I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if we are a good fit. You can reach me at 917-697-2407 or through the contact page on my website. I look forward to hearing from you.