Sometimes teens come into therapy because they are hopeful it may be helpful, and sometimes they come because their parents are suggesting it. Therapy is meant to be a place where you can be supported and safe to explore what is important and meaningful to you, no matter who decided you would come in. Your therapist will ensure you have a clear understanding of what will and will not be shared with your parent(s) or guardian(s) and will work with you to develop goals that will be helpful to you. Because there are often so many competing pressures in adolescence, having a place to work through these demands can be helpful tool in figuring out where you want to go and how to get there.
For parents of teens:
Adolescence is a time of life full of excitement and challenges. Teens often start to explore their own identity, as different from their family, and peer groups can become as important as family. Teens start to explore romantic interests, sexual orientation and identity. Along with exploration can sometimes come road-blocks, such as bullying or cyber-bullying, depression, anxiety, academic struggles, or other major concerns.
As teens begin to develop a greater sense of themselves, it can be helpful to have an adult outside of the family in whom to confide, who can provide a safe and supportive place to sort out the many changing experiences they are facing. Because the adolescent brain is still developing, teens can often surprise us with their depth and range of understanding one minute and then confuse us the next. Having a therapist who understands both the amazing growth and also limitations of the developing adolescent brain is important. This kind of support can help your teen develop their capacity for responsibility, positive choices, accountability, and lead to a calmer and happier home life for everyone.
For more information on counselling and teens:
- The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
- TED Talk by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The Mysterious Workings of the Adolescent Brain