"I was told when I get older all my fears would shrink/ But now I’m insecure and I care what people think"
- Stressed Out 21, Pilots
Therapy For Teenagers
Adolescence is a tricky time filled with a lot of confusion and powerful feelings. It’s a time of extremes and hormones and figuring out who you are in the world. It can feel frightening for teenagers and parents alike. It doesn’t have to feel this way though or be harder than it needs to be. I want to help both teenagers and parents of teenagers to navigate this complicated time with as few battle scars as possible.
Issues I commonly treat
Self-harming and suicidal behaviours
When your child is hurting themselves by cutting or burning themselves it can feel overwhelming and frightening. It is even scarier when they are speaking about or attempting to take their own lives. I can equip your child with skills to better express their distress and to tolerate difficult emotions and to thereby reduce their tendency to self harm or attempt suicide
Poor emotional regulation and distress tolerance
Teenagers sometimes exhibit volatility, moodiness and poor decision-making because they lack the necessary skills to understand and manage their emotions. They may also lack the necessary skills to effectively cope with feeling distressed or overwhelmed. Without the necessary help, they may resort to substance use and risky behaviours to cope with these issues. I can help your child to better understand and express their feelings, as well as to cope with feeling overwhelmed and not to act out in negative or destructive ways.
As children enter adolescence, their peer group becomes central to their identity and sense of wellbeing and belonging. Parents take a back seat and are often seen as authority figures who need to be rebelled against as a means of asserting the teenager’s growing desire for independence. Sexuality is also starting to develop and raise questions for your child. I can assist in providing guideposts for parents in negotiating these shifts and developments in their relationship with their child. I can also help your child to better understand themselves in relation to the others in their world and equip them with skills to make constructive choices in these areas.
Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
Anxiety and depression can make the normal challenges of adolescence harder to cope with. I can assist in helping your child to develop insight into the role of these disorders in their life as well as ways of managing their symptoms so that they do not add excessive demands on their coping in the areas of social, family and school lives.
How I can help your child
I try to provide your child with a confidential space in which they can discuss the issues they are struggling with. I also utilize the principles of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) to equip your child with skills to understand and manage their emotions better, to cope with stressful situations in their lives more optimally and to understand themselves and their relationships with others better so that they can make constructive choices in their lives.
I feel that it is important to involve and work with parents as well to help expand your understanding of your adolescent child, as well as to equip you with the skills and tools that may help you to support your teenage child and your relationship with your child.
Therapy may be short terms (12-24 sessions) or longer term (36 sessions) depending on the needs and circumstances of the teenager in question. Feedback and discussion sessions are held at regular intervals with parents, without compromising the confidentiality of the therapy space.