“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
— Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne
The teenage years come with a unique set of struggles different from every other phase of life. From puberty through high school, adolescents are battling not only physical and hormonal changes, but the search for identity, acceptance, and belonging. Add in peer pressures, bullying, low self-esteem, body image insecurities, compounded by academic pressures such as college entrance exams, career expectations, and the tug-o-war between dependence and independence! The intensity of those pressures can sometimes ripen the field for anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation and even technology, social media and gaming addiction.
If your teen is experiencing any of the above concerns, consider talking to them about engaging in therapy. With me, your teen will have the opportunity to explore the roots of their unique struggles in a safe, objective, confidential setting (with certain limits); and will be given the specific tools they need to overcome them. It is essential that adolescents recognize the short-term nature of their struggles, recognizing that hope is on the horizon!
Additionally, with teens I make it a priority to incorporate life skill lessons from communication and conflict resolution, to assertiveness training, emotional regulation, setting appropriate boundaries for mental and emotional well-being, and even basic career counseling with independent living skills (time management, goal setting and achieving, etc). Hope is often found in planning for the future! Teens are also encouraged to build upon and improve family relationships both inside and outside of counseling. Family conflict is common during the teenage years as a result of their own inner conflict, and the struggle they frequently have in effectively communicating their difficulties, needs, and desires. I love to teach teens these valuable life skills because I have seen not only how it improves their current situations, but sets them on a course for healthy life-long relationships with you, with friendships, with future employers, and potentially with a life-mate down the road! I love seeing the potential that teens have and working with them so they see it also.