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What is teen counseling?
Ask any person, “what were the most confusing years of your life?” and the overwhelming majority will respond by naming their teenage years. For the teen, it is a period of intense change, both physically and mentally. However, this period can be just as disconcerting for the parent with their little angel replaced overnight by a hormone-fueled demon, forcing them to question how they have reared their child. While most families pass through this period without too much turmoil, others suffer greatly and are unaware of how much teen counseling or online teenage therapy could help.
Why do teens need counseling?
As we’ve already mentioned, adolescence is a period of intense change, and there are several reasons a teenager might need counseling.
- Behavior Problems
Teenagers who tend to get into fights, have an aggressive attitude and demeanor, get suspended or expelled from school, or have no respect for authority may have a mental health issue that could be unearthed and treated through teen counseling.
It is a well-known fact that teenagers can be surly and irritable. Mood disorders generally take seed during adolescence and, if left untreated, can develop into a serious disorder over the years, culminating in clinical depression. Many studies claim that depression can begin because these young adults are suddenly faced with losing their childhood and innocence. For some, this can be a deeply troubling and unhappy time.
Some teenagers tend to stress over minor issues. Teen counseling can help them learn how to deal with these issues and manage their anxiety.
- Eating Disorders
Disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are often caused by an underlying psychological issue that can be uncovered and treated with a skilled teen therapist's assistance.
- Substance Abuse
The teenage years are experimentation, including most individual's first encounters with drugs and alcohol. Parents should be alert to any signs of substance abuse and seek help to nip the problem before it becomes a far more serious problem.
Counseling can boost youngsters' esteem, making it far less likely that they will suffer from substance abuse or eating disorders.
- Social Problems
High school can be hell, especially for those who are less popular and perhaps struggle to make friends. Teacher-related issues, a lack of social skills, bullying, and struggling academically are all issues that can either be eliminated or eased by an impartial teen counselor.
If left untreated, a traumatic experience can stay with an individual for life. Counseling can lessen the impact the event has on a teen.
Grief affects teens differently compared to children and adults. Teen counseling with a skilled therapist can help young adults process their grief and deal with feelings of loss and any other strong emotions they may feel during this vulnerable period.
What are the symptoms of a teen needing counseling?
Parents of teenagers should be on the lookout for red flags that may indicate their child requires specialist help. Major red flags that require immediate professional assistance include:
Unexplained cuts or injuries could be signs indicating that a teen is harming themselves. Self-harming can rapidly escalate, becoming a deadly habit and an indication of severe mental issues.
- Substance Abuse
Parents should be alert for any signs of their teenage children developing a drug or alcohol dependence, especially if there is a history of addiction in the family.
- Talk of Suicide or Self-Harm
If your teen mentions suicide or self-harm, you should seek expert help as soon as humanly possible.
What treatments are there for teens needing counseling?
These days there are several types of counseling available for teens:
- Teen Counseling Services
A trained teenage therapist engages directly with the teenager and only involves the parent if it is necessary.
- Group Therapy
Some teens may prefer to share their personal experiences as part of a group, learn from others' experiences, and share their personal experiences. The Wisdo app connects teens that are experiencing the same or similar feelings so they can share what's going on in a safe, online setting.
- Online Counseling
Many teens prefer online therapy, feeling safer, and receiving counseling while in a safe, comfortable space. Talkspace offers services specifically designed with teens in mind to help them navigate the super confusing and sometimes scary teenage years.
How does teen counseling work?
First, the therapist will try and gather as much information from the teen. They will try to learn about their relationships, school life, fears, hopes, family life, and more. Next, the therapist will try and pinpoint any problem areas, then help the teen make the changes needed to overcome whatever problems they face.
Since it involves children under the age of 18, there a few rules that apply specifically to teen counseling.
- Parents Do Not Attend the First Session
The first session is just between the teen and the therapist. This is done because for the teen to open up and let the counselor truly, they must feel as if they can trust them. This first session allows for a rapport to be established, allowing the teen to feel confident enough to express themself freely.
- Therapist-Client Confidentiality
As with any relationship between patient and doctor, even if the patient is a minor, there is a strict confidentiality code. The teen therapist may not disclose any details of the session to the parents, other than general information about their diagnosis and the teen's progress. However, if the teen has expressed any thoughts of suicide, the intention of self-harm, or if any evidence of sexual abuse has come to light, past or present, the therapist must, by law, report this information to the appropriate authority.
How does online teen counseling work?
Several online platforms offer online teen counseling with fully trained online counselors and even specialized online teen therapy counselors, at a far lower cost than you would expect to pay with traditional in-person therapists. Some platforms even claim that you can enjoy a month of 24 hours access to your very own specialist online teen counselor for less than a single session with an in-person therapist.
The online process can be explained in a few simple steps:
- A questionnaire that requires some basic info on the particular situation must first be completed
- Once the questionnaire is completed, the child will be matched with a suitable online licensed therapist, specializing in the issue(s) that the teen faces
- The parent will then have an initial session with the online therapist where they will discuss the issues the teen faces along with any relevant information on the particulars of the child’s situation
- Once the parent or guardian approves of the online therapist, has the course plotted in the previously mentioned initial session, and has entered all relevant payment details on the secured payment page, the teen will be connected with their online counselor. If either the parent or teen is not happy with the online counselor they have been matched with, an alternative counselor can be requested
- The teen will engage with their online counselor via text, phone, and video chats
- The contents of the online counseling sessions between the teen and counselor are confidential. However, if there is an urgent situation that requires immediate intervention, the parent will be alerted to this fact
Where can I find help online?
How long does online teen counseling last?
This does depend on the individual teen and the issues they are dealing with. Some problems are dealt with far quicker than others, which may be far more complex and take longer to resolve. At a minimum, you can expect online teen counseling to last at least 3 weeks if the teen interacts with their online teen counseling therapist once a week. For some problems, online therapy might last a year or even more. However, even if therapy is taking a long time, both you as a parent and the teen should notice some form of progress after just a few weeks, depending on the openness and attitude of the teen towards counseling and their online therapist.
What are the side effects of online teen counseling?
There are no written-in-stone side-effects like there are with most forms of medication. However, as a parent, there are certain things that you might pick up about your teen once they have begun therapy.
They may become more open and wanting to discuss certain issues with you. Alternatively, they may choose only to discuss matters with their therapist. This does depend on the personality type of the teen and the relationship they have with their parents.
With almost 20% of all teens experiencing mental health issues, it is more important than ever that these young adults receive the therapy they need to help them solve certain issues that, if left unattended, could lead to clinical depression, anxiety, self-harm, and addiction. Online counseling for teens makes counseling more accessible and affordable than ever before.