Are you worried about your teen?
Do your teen’s recent behaviors and choices concern you?
- Is your teen struggling with relationships at home or at school?
- Is your teen stressed or anxious?
- Are you concerned that your teen may have an eating disorder?
- Does your teen displays signs of teen depression?
- Has your teen experienced a trauma?
- Would you like your teen to build self-esteem and coping resources?
You may be feeling frustrated and unsure of how to help your child. This is understandable. Transitioning to teenage years can be challenging. Teens struggle to form their own identity while coping with peer pressure, physical changes, fluctuating emotions, and mature choices and decisions. Some insecurity, conflict, limit testing, and mood fluctuation is normal. However, when these become persistent or destructive, your teen may need additional help.
Major life changes can also be stressful. Losses or changes such as death, divorce, new family members or moving can trigger difficult emotions, behavioral issues and arguing amongst family members. These can be difficult times for everyone involved. Our teen counseling services help your teen and your entire family get back on track.
Sometimes teens can experience a difficult or traumatic situation such as a natural disaster, bullying, abuse, violence or teen pregnancy and you know they need help, but you’re not sure what to do. In situations of trauma, it’s extremely important that your teen has an opportunity to process and make sense of what happened so they can heal.
As a parent, you may also want to understand how to work with your teen, to both support and facilitate their success while managing harmful behaviors and communication patterns. Our therapists can help parents develop effective strategies to create more peace and support at home. We may involve you in sessions directly with your teen or meet separately for parenting support depending on the needs of your family. We also recognize that it is important for your teen to have space to process their struggles independently and come up with their own strategies and coping skills.
Get Help for Your Teen’s Depression
Is Your Teen More Irritable Than Usual? Are you Worried About Your Teen’s Mood?
It can be difficult to know if your teen is struggling with depression or going through teenage angst or just the blues. Depression is different from the blues because it lasts longer and is more intense.
Teens are coping with hormonal and physical changes which can impact mood fluctuations not to mention the stresses of peer relationships.
Teen depression is more serious however and impacts 20% of teenagers.
As a parent it can be hard to watch your teen struggle and frustrating to not know how to help or even what to do to bring peace at home. There are some signals to help you recognize that your teen needs help. It can also be critical to get help for teen depression early on before things become destructive.
How to Recognize if Your Teen Needs Help for Depression
The teenage years are times of insecurity and change as teens struggle to build their own identity separate from their parents. This is a typical aspect of teenager development. Teens may also emphasize peer relationships more, test the limits with boundaries and act out from time to time. However, these changes are typically balanced with other signs of emotional health such as positive friendships, success in school or activities.
Depression may show up as irritability, consistent high reactivity or sad mood, high sensitivity to rejection, failure and perceived criticism, consistent complaints of physical aches and pains, withdrawing from friends, major changes in sleeping and eating patterns, extreme sensitivity to criticism, no longer interested in activities previously enjoyed, self-injury and persistent low energy. Teen depression can also be associated with an eating disorder. If you teen has thoughts of death or suicide, it’s important to seek help right away. This could indicate a very serious situation and it’s important that your teen is evaluated by a professional.
The key here is that the symptoms are persistent over time. Destructive behaviors can be another sign as well as struggling in a particular area of life such as school or friends. It can also be critical to seek help during times of major change even if your teen isn’t showing obvious signs of teen depression. This can help prevent issues from becoming worse. Major changes that can be quite disruptive to a teen include death in the family, divorce, moving or changing schools, or illness in the family.
When is Teen Anxiety & Worry Too Much?
All teens experience anxiety and worry whether about school, friends, belonging, performance, etc. Anxiety in teens is also increased due to hormone changes and increased responsibilities and expectations. However, it’s important to recognize when your teen’s stress is actually a symptom of an anxiety disorder. Today’s teens face more stress than ever before with social media and technology exposing teens to higher expectations, pressures and bullying. Over 25% of teenagers have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can negatively impact your teen’s social relationships and academic performance. Anxiety can be generalized with worries about many things or specific such as test anxiety. Anxiety can be debilitating and make it difficult for your teen to focus. Anxiety in teenagers can sometimes be confused with other conditions such as attention deficit disorder.
Anxiety symptoms to look out for in your teen include difficulty concentrating, feeling keyed up or on edge, irritability, restlessness, excessive fear and worry (general or specific). Physical symptoms your teen might experience include stomachaches, headaches, muscle aches and cramps, fatigue, hyperventilating, blotchy skin, excessive sweating. They may seem withdrawn or fearful in social settings.
The teenage years are also a time when teens are more aware of what others think. For some, being aware that others are paying attention to them can cause significant anxiety. Beyond shyness, being fearful of how you are perceived can be a sign of social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety in teens can impact social and academic functioning. Signs of social anxiety typically develop between the ages of 8-15 years of age.
Anxiety in teens is complex and these are just a few signs to look for. If you are concerned about your teen’s stress levels or notice anxiety symptoms that don’t seem to go away with time, a counseling session can provide an assessment and plan for your teenager.
Body Image & Eating Disorders in Teens
Eating disorders also typically emerge in the teen years and are the third most common chronic illnesses in adolescent females. Young males are increasingly developing eating disorders as well. Eating disorders in adolescence can develop as teens become more conscious of their appearance, cultural norms, and their changing bodies. Body image concerns may also develop and cause significant distress in your son or daughter, with or without eating disorder symptoms. Poor body image can relate to low self-esteem and be a risk factor in the development of an eating disorder.
Signs of eating disorder symptoms include fear of becoming fat, eating in secret (finding food wrappers in your teen’s closet), preoccupation with food, or food phobias and avoidance. It may be more difficult to notice if your teen is binge eating, purging, restricting calories or over-exercising (another form of bulimia). If you suspect that your teen is struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, it’s important to bring them in to a trained eating disorder specialist for an evaluation. Keep in mind that weight can have a lot or little to do with this complex disease. Both underweight, normal weight and overweight teens can suffer from a devastating eating disorder. Identifying an eating disorder in the early stages can be critical for recovery and to avoid medical complications.
Get Help for Your Teen
The first step to helping your teen is to start a conversation. Be open to listening and validate feelings expressed vs. offering advice. You may feel shut out, but be persistent and supportive and continue to express your concern. Your teen may not want to go to counseling or perceive it as a “punishment”. You can let your teen know that while they may need to get help for teen depression (not a choice), the choice of who they speak with is up to them. The therapist selected will want to make sure that there is a good fit. Our therapists who work with teens are skilled and experienced in teen counseling and offer a compassionate and supportive approach combined with practical strategies and solutions.
It can be difficult for teens to open up and talk about what they’re experiencing either because they don’t really understand or know how to express it or they feel shamed or fear being misunderstood. Don’t force the issue. Rather, let your teen know that you care and are concerned and trust your instincts. Offer support without overly questioning them as this may push them further away.
While medication may be beneficial, it’s important that your teen have the opportunity to process their feelings through counseling with a teen therapist. In many cases, talk therapy may be sufficient in helping your teen resolve their concerns. Plus, it provides your teen with greater awareness of themselves and coping tools and resources to handle stressful situations that come up later.
Therapy Can Build Self-Esteem and Instill Coping Skills
Counseling can be an important factor to help your teen cope with difficult emotions, such as feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed,
identify unhelpful thinking patterns, build self-confidence and self-respect, and grow and mature. Learning tools now can prevent more serious problems from developing and benefit your teen in adult years as well.
Through therapy, root causes will be explored and realistic goals set so that positive changes can be made. This may include changing destructive or problematic behaviors, learning effective communication and problem-solving skills, and building social skills and self-esteem. By understanding root causes, symptoms can be reduced while developing a solid sense of self.
Therapy can also help reduce conflicts in the family and help your teen learn how to cope with difficult emotions and situations in a healthy and productive way. This can be an invaluable tool as your teen is faced with more challenging and stressful situations. This can also impact the family as a whole as your teen learns the impact of behavior on others.
“We are so grateful you were available to meet. You were just the right person for our daughter to talk to. She looked so much more herself when we left, and that was such a relief to me. She told me she felt so much better after talking with you, that she felt very comfortable with you, and that she felt you had made insightful and helpful suggestions…..Again, I am so glad you were available and able to meet with us. Thank you, also, for making us, her parents, feel welcome in your office.”
Counseling Can Help Your Teen:
- Cope with peer pressure or bullying
- Reduce conflict and destructive behavior in or outside of the home
- Recover from an eating disorder or problematic eating behaviors
- Manage teen depression or anxiety
- Build self-confidence and make friends
- Deal with family changes such as divorce, separation, or addiction
- Learn to cope with a traumatic event or loss
- Cope with the ups and downs of teenage life
- Make healthy decisions and have self-respect
Find More Peace in Your Family
When your teen is unhappy, everyone in the family is affected. As a parent, you want the best for your child and it can be difficult to know what to do to help. If your child is struggling with a serious issue such as major depression or an eating disorder, it can be very scary. You want to know how to support them while also making sure they get the help they need. You might also need support going through this crisis point in your family life.
On the other hand, fluctuations in mood, angry or withdrawn behavior may trigger increased arguing and discord among family members. This is normal. When your teen isn’t feeling well, it impacts you. At Eddins Counseling Group our goal is to support all of you as a family in recovery and healing. To help you learn to resolve conflict, communicate effectively and establish effective boundaries and structures in your family. Ultimately, our teen counseling services are designed to help all of you strengthen your relationships with one another.
Counseling for Teens Can Offer Support for Parents as Well
It can be challenging to know what to do when your teen is struggling with depression. Getting your child help for depression early on can benefit the family as a whole. Not only can it help problems from becoming worse, counseling can help increase communication strategies among family members and provide guidance to parents on how to cope and set appropriate boundaries. Parents often feel frustrated and walk a fine line between offering support and maintaining expectations and limits.
Parent coaching can give you the tools you need to effectively communicate and use creative strategies to help your teen succeed. Working together as a team, the therapist, teen and parents devise a plan to ensure success and minimize confusion and powerless feelings. Parent coaching can also help you cope with the changes that surface as your teen matures and develops a sense of their own independence. You may experience sadness, anxiety or fear as you go through these changes with your teen. You may even benefit from counseling to help you adjust to a new role in your life as your teen approaches graduation.
Getting Started with Therapy for Your Teenager
Our therapists in Houston, Tx are experts in counseling for adolescents and can determine what treatment strategies will be most effective as well as who else might need to be involved. Typically, therapy for teens may start off more frequently and then reduce in frequency once skills are learned and practiced on a regular basis. Once progress has been made and maintained for a consistent period of time, therapy is no longer needed.
If your teen is fearful or resistant to therapy, it can be important to remember that they may be feeling anxious about starting therapy. Explore how your teen feels about therapy, discuss their concerns openly and offer validation and information. You might affirm for example that therapy doesn’t mean that you are crazy or that something is wrong with you. It is a way of learning new skills to cope, to understand yourself and your emotions in a healthy way, and to develop ways to handle difficult and challenging situations. Most importantly for a teenager, is having an objective person to talk to and share their stresses, worries and concerns with. This can be incredibly relieving to a teen who might not want to worry or burden their parents, or who might feel they need some privacy to explore their innermost concerns. Further, taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as physical health. Sometimes, it’s about prevention and learning new skills.
You can let your teen know that you are concerned about him/her and that while counseling may not be a choice, they can have input on their therapist. Your therapist will help to ensure that there is a good fit and that your teen feels safe and secure in order for therapy to be effective. If your teen is still resistant to therapy, you may choose to go together as a family for your first session. At that time an assessment and recommendation can be made with everyone present and involved. If you’re feeling frustrated, it might be helpful to have a session on your own as a parent to express your concerns and develop strategies to help your teen.
Group Therapy for Teens
We also offer a DBT Skills Group for teens ages 14-19. DBT therapy is a skills-based approach that teaches cognitive techniques to help your teen make healthy and effective choices to create a life they will love and be proud of. DBT therapy teaches healthy coping skills for many of the social, emotional and life challenges teens face. Teen DBT can be a powerful adjunct to individual or family therapy.
We also offer group therapy for adolescent girls ages 13-15. We find that group therapy, particularly for teen girls, can be an excellent way to build self esteem, learn stress management and social skills, and manage the transition to adolescence through support and connection with others.
For younger kids, we offer a middle school therapy group. This group helps kids navigate the challenging middle school years, where puberty, hormones, social relationships, and academics bring new difficulties to your child’s life.
Online Teen Counseling
We understand the challenges families may face in pursuing counseling for their teen. A teen’s life can get very busy and driving in Houston is no easy task. Video therapy sessions are also an option in these cases. We ask that you attend the initial session in person. If video therapy makes better sense for your family, you can discuss this with your therapist in the initial session. It works the same as face to face counseling in that you will have a scheduled appointment time and we ask that the teenager has a private, confidential space to meet with their therapist without being interrupted or overheard. For more information, discuss this with your therapist in the initial to find out if it is an option for your teen. Video based therapy is not an option in all cases.
We’re here to help you understand how to support your teen as well as help you teen heal. Talk to us about your questions and concerns.