Transitioning from childhood to adulthood means that adolescents have unique tasks and challenges to navigate and accomplish. Teenagers often struggle with issues relating to their bodies, identities, sexuality, self-esteem, strong emotions, future goals, as well as relationships with others.
Life certainly does not cut teenagers any slack and, in addition to developmental challenges, they also face rejection, losing loved ones, traumatic events, health problems, changes to their families, and managing academic demands.
Coping with so many challenges can be overwhelming for teens, or they may try to cope in ways that create additional problems (e.g., withdrawing from others or healthy activities, lashing out, risky behaviours, self-harming, abusing substances, or shutting down their emotions).
As such, teenagers can often benefit from support. It can, however, be difficult for adolescents to identify or acknowledge what they are struggling with, to figure out what to do, or to talk to their friends and families about their problems (they are often caught between wanting independence while still needing guidance).
Some things that could indicate your teenager is having a hard time include:
- Changes in mood (e.g., appear down most of the time, frequent anger outbursts)
- Changes in behaviour (e.g., defiance towards rules/authority, avoiding people or tasks such as schoolwork, substance use, frequent crying, nail biting)
- Changes in physical appearance (e.g., weight loss/gain) or personal hygiene
- Changes in sleeping, appetite, energy level, or difficulties with concentration and memory
- Changes in academic performance (e.g., a drop in marks)
If you have noticed any of the above changes or believe your teen could otherwise do with some support, psychotherapy can be a valuable intervention. Psychotherapy provides your teenager with the opportunity to explore and discuss their problems, concerns, relationships, behaviours, and emotions within a safe and supportive relationship with a psychologist. Therapy can assist in the development of useful coping and communication skills, and help adolescents to better understand themselves, their needs, and their developmental challenges.
I offer individual psychotherapy sessions for individuals aged 13-17 years. Sessions are typically 45-50 minutes and are held with the teenager experiencing difficulties.