Teen Counseling: A Helpful Lifeline During a Difficult Time

The teenage years are a natural time of change, and sometimes these changes can be difficult for both parents and youngsters to adjust to. Teen counseling is a helpful lifeline during this time.

For parents, this period can be a real challenge. The charming child they knew and loved has been replaced by a bad-tempered monster with whom they have trouble relating. They feel responsible, and often question the way that they have brought up their child.

For youngsters, the responsibilities of adulthood loom over them, coupled with the physical and hormonal changes that they are undergoing.

Some families pass through this transition period relatively easily. However, many suffer greatly and are unaware of just how much teen counseling can help youngsters get through this challenging time and prepare them for adult life.

Teen Counseling: Why is it Necessary?

Teen counseling should not be considered as a last resort when things have gotten completely out of hand. Therapy during the early stages of the teenage years can be a huge help to the youngster, their parents, and the family as a whole. Teen counseling gives a teenager a better opportunity for healthy development.

Pressures of Modern Society

Today’s youngsters are under greater stress than any previous generation. Our education system puts a lot of pressure on teenagers with constant exams and tests that can influence their entire future. Also, due to financial reasons, young people are often forced to make career choices and college plans at a very young age.

Abnormal Expectations

Many teens feel pressure from their parents to succeed in areas where they themselves have failed or excelled. Additionally, parents often encourage their teenagers to participate in so many extracurricular activities that they spend little time together as a family. This can deprive the youngster of the security and support that family can provide.

The Need to Fit In

During the teenage years, youngsters are beginning to really define their personalities and they feel an immense need to be liked and to fit in with their peers. It can be a tough time for them to express their individuality and many fall prey to bullying and peer pressure to become like everyone else.

9 Reasons Why Teens Seek Out Therapy

Let’s look at a few reasons why teenagers might need therapy.

Behavior Problems

Teenagers who exhibit aggressive behavior, get suspended from school or who show a severe lack of respect may have a mental health issue. Teen counseling can help to uncover and treat the underlying condition causing their behavior problems.


Many youngsters become irritable during their teenage years. However, if your child is withdrawn, isolates himself, and appears sad; this could be a sign of depression. Mood disorders commonly start during this period and can develop into serious conditions if not treated early on. Many teens experience developmental depression. This happens when they are confronted with the reality of the loss of their childhood identity and innocence, and they have to face their own vulnerabilities. For some, it can develop into an atypical depression which can seriously affect their functioning.


Some teenagers exhibit intense anxiety over issues that should not cause them to worry excessively. Teen therapy can help them to learn how to deal with their anxiety and manage it better.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are often the result of an underlying problem which a skilled therapist can discover and help to solve.

Substance Abuse Issues

Many youngsters experiment with drugs and alcohol during their teens. Parents should be aware of the signs of substance abuse and seek the appropriate help as early as possible.

Problems with Self-Esteem

Teen counseling can help youngsters to boost their self-esteem which can assist them in their studies and make them less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol or to develop eating disorders.

Social Problems

Youngsters who have few friends, lack social skills, experience teacher-related issues, are subjected to bullying, and have failing grades; can benefit from the impartial guidance of a therapist.


Counseling can help to reduce the negative impact of a traumatic event on a teenager and increase their resilience. If it’s left untreated, a traumatic incident can have a lifelong effect.


Grief affects teens differently than adults or children. Therapy can help youngsters to deal with their grief, feelings of loss, and other strong emotions.

Warning Signs Among At-Risk Youth

It is important to know what the warning signs are that your teen may need counseling.


Any signs of self-harming, such as unexplained cuts or injuries, should be immediately investigated. Self-harming can quickly become a very dangerous habit and is indicative of severe mental turmoil.

Substance Abuse

Particularly if there is a history of substance abuse in the family, parents should be alert to signs that their teenager is developing a drug or alcohol problem. A youngster who is getting home drunk or high on a regular basis needs help.

Suicide Ideation

Any talk of (or attempts at) suicide should be taken very seriously and professional help should be sought out immediately.

Types of Counseling

Various types of teen counseling are available these days.

Teen Counseling Services

Teen counseling is a one-on-one type of therapy, although parents can be included if the therapist feels it necessary.

Group Therapy

Adolescents may choose to participate together in group therapy, sharing their personal experiences and learning from the experiences of others.

Online Counseling

Many youngsters prefer online counseling as they feel safer and that they have greater privacy receiving counseling in a familiar setting.

What Happens During a Session With a Teen Therapist?

The therapist will initially gather as much information as possible from the youngster. They will encourage them to talk freely about their relationships, their school, their fears, and their hopes. The therapist will then be able to identify problem areas and begin to help the youngster to make the necessary changes to confront their problems and learn how to respond positively to them.

The Rules of Teen Counseling

There are a few rules that apply specifically to teen counseling.

Parents Don’t Attend the First Session

Many parents are surprised to discover that they are not invited to participate at the first teen counseling session. This is because, for effective counseling, the youngster needs to feel that he can completely trust the therapist and establish a rapport so that he is able to express his thoughts and emotions freely. Something which might not be possible with the parents present.

Therapist-Client Confidentiality

Just as with any patient-doctor relationship, even with a minor, there is a strict code of therapist-client confidentiality. A teen therapist does not disclose any details of therapy sessions even to the parents, although they can provide general information about their diagnosis and the youngster’s progress.

The Exceptions

By law, however, a therapist must report to the appropriate authority any expression of suicidal thoughts, intent of self-harm, or intention to harm others, and any evidence of current or previous physical or sexual abuse.

How Can Teen Counseling Help?

Teen counseling can assist youngsters to successfully get through a very challenging period of their lives and set them up to become responsible adults. By identifying mental health issues and other problems early on there is a much better chance of solving them.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-kids-call-the-shots/201708/three-signs-your-teen-needs-therapy
  2. https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/parenting/what-to-expect-from-teenage-counseling/
  3. https://www.verywellmind.com/top-reasons-teens-go-to-therapy-2609138
author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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