Is Anxiety or Depression Impacting Your Teenage Child?

 

  • Have you noticed a concerning change in your teenager’s emotional stability or behavior?
  • Do you wonder if your teen may be suicidal?
  • Are you worried your teen may not make it through adolescence to become a healthy, functional adult?
  • Is your teenage child struggling to function at school, home or in society?
  • Do you wish you better understood your teen’s experience and had the skills and support to help him or her work through the challenging teenage years?

You may wonder when you last had a meaningful conversation with your teen. He or she may not talk to you, or else quickly resort to yelling. You may have the same fight over and over, without achieving resolution or clarity. Perhaps you come home from work and find your teen already in his or her bedroom. Your child may refuse to come out to spend time with the family or share in family responsibilities. Alternately, your teenager may leave for hours at a time without telling you where he or she is going. You may begin to wonder if your child is sneaking out at night or if he or she has begun cutting or using drugs. This can lead to fighting as you don’t want your younger children to think it is ok to behave this way.

You may be concerned your teen is becoming socially isolated. He or she may be a high-achiever and always too busy with studying, practice or clubs to spend time with friends. It could be that your teen is reluctant to talk to family, but also worries about being liked or judged by peers. It’s not uncommon for parents to become worried they’re losing touch with their child, feeling frustrated they are unable to help through these difficulties.

 

Many Teens Feel Like They Are Facing Their Struggles Alone

There are many reasons your teen may be struggling, including relationship issues with peers or family members, social phobias, anxiety or depression. More than three in four teens has been the victim of verbal, online or physical bullying, which can lead to increased anxiety, depression or other serious issues. Some teens turn to substance abuse to cope with or escape the difficulties they face. Many teens experience frustration as they transition from child to adult and feel like their voice isn’t heard or doesn’t matter. They begin seeking more independence from their parents as they try to define themselves. This can create power struggles as you are forced to let go of the controls at a time when your child is suffering and unsure.

The good news is teen counseling can help your child understand and overcome the difficulties he or she is facing.

 

Teen Counseling Can Help Your Teen Overcome His or Her Challenges

Everybody has to be a teenager, and every teenager struggles at some point – whether in their relationships or at school. The energy of a strong and understanding support system can have a powerful impact on a teen. At Alkira, many of our therapists are parents and we have worked with teens for many years. We understand what your teen – and you – are going through. We are here to care for your teen’s well-being, building a relationship to help him or her grow and develop, learning healthy ways to cope and move through challenges. Everyone needs someone to talk to, and we offer a safe place for teenagers to do that.

Teen counseling at Alkira is highly dependent on your teen’s relationship with his or her therapist. As such, it is important that you show your support and nurture that relationship. We understand you may wish to be the one on this path with your child, helping him or her grow beyond this issue. But the truth is many teens can’t handle their parents filling that role. We are here to serve as an ally so you and your teen don’t have to go through these struggles alone. Having an experienced, neutral therapist who understands both your and your teen’s journey can dramatically help your teen and your relationship.

Teen counseling begins with a parent or family session, depending on the age of your teen. We want your input as parents, and a family session can help your child see that we are not here to talk behind his or her back. We then move to individual sessions with your teen. Building a trusting relationship in the beginning is essential, and this can take longer in teen counseling than it might for child or adult therapy.

Many parents wish to know what their teen is saying in sessions. It is important to remember that maintaining your teen’s confidentiality is an imperative part of building a trusting relationship – as well as being protected by HIPPAA law. It takes time to feel understood and valued, and your teen must believe that what he or she shares will remain between him or her and the therapist. Your teen won’t value anything we say unless he or she trusts us. That being said, if at any time during the therapeutic process we have safety concerns, you will be the first to know, and your involvement will increase dramatically.

We are collaborative and flexible in our approach, creating a therapeutic process specifically designed to fit your teen. We try to base our approach around your teen’s interests and strengths, like art or music. Once trust is built, we can help your teen gain personal insights so he or she can learn how to overcome challenges. At this point we may also bring you back in to help heal and strengthen the family system.

In our 20 years working with teens and their families, we have seen that it is possible for teens to get through this difficult stage and feel better. If your teen struggles with anxiety or depression, it doesn’t mean he or she always will. Your teenager is still growing and developing. Our treatment focuses on overcoming – rather than simply managing – the challenges. With the support of an Alkira teen counseling therapist, it is possible for your teen to feel better, learn valuable life skills and to improve your relationship with your teen.

 

But you may still have questions or concerns about teen counseling…

 

I can’t get my teenager to agree to come in…

Finding the right therapist for your teen requires patience. If your teen refuses to get in the car, we can meet with you – the parents – during the first session. Here we can brainstorm ways to get your teen to agree to come in voluntarily.

 

Lots of teens struggle. This is just a phase.

While it is certainly true that almost all teens struggle, you need to take seriously any potential problems that could affect your child’s well-being. This might include a change in personality or harming his or her self – perhaps through cutting or the use of alcohol or drugs. Waiting for a “phase” to pass could mean your child isn’t receiving the support he or she needs right now.

 

My teen and I don’t have the same availability during the week. Do you have flexible scheduling?

We offer appointments after school, evenings, school breaks, and on most Saturdays.

 

Your Teen Can Feel Happy Again

If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you have regarding teen counseling, we are available at 315 492-1390 or alkiratherapy@gmail.com. We return all calls and emails within 24 business hours. We can typically arrange a first appointment within one week.