Adolescence is an exciting and rich part of life, and it’s also, well… complicated.
If you’re a teen and you’re dealing with any of the issues described below, coming to therapy can help you figure out more about what’s going on and support you in coming up with some options for making adjustments that work for you.
If you’re a parent who is looking into therapy for your teen or preteen, you may be concerned about something you’ve been noticing or you may be responding to a direct request for therapy from school. If you are feeling unsure about how to understand or respond to the challenges weighing on your teen, therapy can give your adolescent a safe space to sort out what is happening. Many times teens will be able to share their struggles more openly with parents after first talking things through in their own therapy.
Lily Tsutsumida, MFT, ATR-BC is our Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Board Certified Art Therapist in the Costa Mesa office and working with teens and preteens and their families is one her main areas of expertise. She will actually talk with you like a real person, respect your teen’s individuality, and value what they have to say.
Anxiety can show up in a few different ways for teens and preteens.
Many teens who worry that they may be depressed feel concerned because they are experiencing overwhelming emotions.
o Intense reactions to stressful situations
o Anger outbursts (toward others or toward self)
Relationship or Family Challenges
Relationships can be a source of stress for people of all ages. The distress brought on by challenges in family, friend groups and dating is especially real for teens.
o Family – divorce, death or illness of a family member, frequent arguments, values/culture inconsistency
o Friendships – betrayal or abandonment, cruelty/bullying, friendships that feel imbalanced, lack of membership in a group, lack of close friendships
o Dating – Worry, self-consciousness, rejection, secretiveness, sex, jealousy, cheating, breakups
Quiet, Sensitive or Introvert Personalities
Not all adolescents are social, rowdy and talkative. For teens that have a quieter way of communicating, are more sensitive to overwhelming experiences, or need a good amount of alone time to recharge, middle school and high school can be trying times.
o Pressure to be extroverted by teachers (trauma with public speaking)
o Undervalued or overpowered socially
o Pressured by well-intentioned extrovert family
o Life structured in a way that is incompatible with how they operate
**Read Lily’s post about this: “Why Your ‘Shy’ Teenage Daughter is Amazing”
Concerning or Unsafe Behavior Patterns
One of the most common reasons teens find themselves in therapy is that there is an unsafe behavior happening and someone is worried. Sometimes it’s teenagers themselves that realize a pattern is getting out of hand. Other times it’s a parent who discovers the pattern and feels concerned.
The kinds of things below can feel awkward to talk about at first. Lily’s top priority is to have these discussions without judgment so that, whatever has been happening, there is no need to feel shame (she means it, read her post about this). She understands that humans naturally use any means to cope that helps us get by, and if the coping strategy itself starts to cause problems, all that means is that it’s time to adjust.
o Vaping, drinking & drugs
o Concerning relationship with food and/or exercise
o Entering risky situations
If you are thinking that it would be a good time to get started with therapy to support the trajectory of your teen’s growth, give us a call at 310-218-7518 or send us an email through our contact form.
For information about fees or insurance, go here.
To schedule directly onto Lily’s calendar, go here.