Teen Counseling

During such a transformational phase, LaunchPad can help.

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 Teen-counseling-richmond-300x300Are you worried about your teen’s risky behaviors? Do they need help managing intense emotions? Are you struggling to connect with your teenager?

Raising a child into a teenager isn’t easy. Parents work hard at helping their teens become mature, responsible adults. At this age, teenagers are now making many decisions on their own, yet they exhibit intense emotional outbursts — and parents’ abilities to keep them safe is harder than ever before. Unfortunately, when dealing with the complex emotions of a teenager, many parents feel at a loss of how to help them.

Unlike younger children, your teenager may not welcome the idea of going to counseling. They may think that a counselor will lecture them, and as a result, will put up walls to both the idea of counseling and the therapist. In our experience, once teenagers realize that counseling is a safe space to express everything they have inside, teenagers start using their sessions very creatively. They will open up to their counselor and be able to bounce off thoughts and feelings about their parents, their friends, and their lives’ stressors.

The most common difficulties teenagers can address through Play Therapy are:

  • Behavior problems
  • Family relationships
  • Peer-related issues
  • Healthy self-image development
  • Questions about sexuality
  • Life changes, such as divorce, moves, grief and loss
  • Questions about the future
  • Independence
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Intense emotions, such as anger, anxiety or feelings of depression
Teenagers are at a time in life where they’re discovering a new sense of control. They realize they can make their own decisions and are practicing important skills, like independence and autonomy. But, this independence can also result in disregarding parental advice. So, they make decisions based on their friend’s opinions or newly discovered thrills, which can be very scary for a parent. Not knowing what your child could get into while you aren’t present can be extremely stressful, especially if your teen doesn’t have a good track record. With the supportive outlet that comes from counseling, however, they have a safe environment for processing their thoughts and feelings with their counselor, so they start making better decisions and foster a more peaceful home life.
Teenagers deal with a lot of changes. Peer pressure, performance anxiety, self-doubt, self-image, self-esteem … all of these emotions can become very stressful aspects of a teenager’s day-to-day life. And when children have always had a hard time managing their emotions, they may struggle even more now as a teen. Temper tantrums become yelling matches. Or, ignoring their parents now gives them a lot of power. And life events such as parental divorce, moves, school changes, or loss can trigger even deeper, more complex feelings of sadness, depression, worry, and anxiety. With counseling, teenagers can learn to calm themselves, think before they act, and reduce the explosive outbursts. With balanced emotions, they can learn better in school, build healthier relationships, and find meaning and purpose.
When teenagers experience traumatic life experiences, such as a divorce, they need space and a trusted relationship to process these changes. Teenagers may not speak to their parents about how they feel because they don’t want to hurt their parents’ feelings. They may also feel guilty or ashamed. Outwardly, this emotional response may look like they are blaming you, or they could be secretly blaming themselves. Counseling can help a teenager have a safe, objective environment for discussing thoughts and feelings they may be unable to share with their parents and family. A safe space to express themselves can help your teen in overcoming traumatic experiences and achieving growth.
Children with ADHD struggle with poor decision-making, difficulties managing their emotions, anger outbursts, and much more. ADHD can become more difficult to handle during the preteen years. They and their parents have struggled for years completing tasks that require focus and attention, which can leave parents drained and frustrated. Fortunately, counseling can help! Play Therapy uses dynamic activities that teach children to stop and think before acting, learn to focus, follow directions, and manage their emotions.