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  • Writer's pictureHoffstetter Counseling

Top 10 Reasons Teens Go to Therapy

From mood swings to school issues, all teens have problems. But sometimes, a teen's distress might rise to a level where it's important to seek professional help.

10 Reasons Teens Go To Therapy

Therapy certainly doesn’t need to be reserved for life-altering events or serious mental health problems, however. Meeting with a therapist can prevent minor issues from turning into major problems.

If you think your teen could benefit from talking to a mental health provider, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a professional. Talk to your pediatrician or schedule an appointment directly with a therapist. Sometimes, a few short therapy sessions can make a big difference to your teen’s overall well-being.

Teens can benefit from meeting with a therapist to talk to about a variety of topics, ranging from relationship issues to questions about sexual identity. Here are the top 10 reasons teens go to therapy:

1. Depression

Mood disorders often start during the teen years. And if left untreated, depression can last into adulthood. If your teen seems irritable, sad, and withdrawn, talk to your pediatrician. An accurate diagnosis and early intervention are key components to effective treatment.

2. Anxiety Disorders

While it’s normal for teens to worry sometimes, some teens experience intense anxiety. Whether your teen has difficulty speaking in front of the class, or she constantly worries bad things are going to happen, therapy could help her learn how to manage her symptoms.

3. Behavior Problems

Suspensions from school, repeat curfew violations, and aggressive behavior may be symptoms of more serious problems. A therapist could help uncover potential mental health issues, skill deficits, or social problems that may be driving your teen’s behavior.

4. Substance Abuse Issues

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol can become serious problems for teenagers. A substance abuse counselor can assess your teen’s substance use and help determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Individual therapy, group therapy, detox, or residential treatment may be options depending on the severity of a teen’s problems.

5. Stress

Teenagers can get stressed out. Whether it’s the pressure to perform well on an exam or concerns over what to do after high school, stress can take a serious toll. Therapy can help a teen learn skills to manage stress successfully—and that’s something that will serve them well throughout their lives.

6. School and Social-Related Issues

Bullies, failing grades, cliques, and teacher-related issues are just a few of the social-related problems many teens experience. Teens often aren’t sure where to turn for help. Therapy can provide teens with support and give them skills that will help them navigate high school successfully.

7. Legal Problems

Stealing, underage drinking, or fighting are just a few of the reasons teens get into trouble with the law. Sometimes, they’re mandated by probation—or their parents—to receive counseling. Therapy can help a teen learn how to make healthier choices so that further legal issues can be prevented.

8. Low Self-Esteem

While most teens struggle with self-confidence issues at one time or another, some experience serious self-esteem issues. When those issues are left unaddressed, teens are at a higher risk of problems such as substance abuse and academic failure. Therapy can help boost a teen’s self-esteem.

9. Trauma

Whether it’s a near-death experience or a sexual assault, traumatic events can have a lifelong impact on a teen. Therapy can increase resilience and reduce the impact the traumatic event has on a teen’s life. Early intervention can be the key to helping a teen recover from traumatic circumstances.

10. Grief

Teens deal with grief a little differently than adults and the loss of a loved one can be especially difficult during adolescence. Individual, family, or group therapy can help teens sort out their feelings and make sense of their loss. 

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A Word From

If you're questioning treatment for your teen, err on the side of caution and contact a professional. If your teen isn't interested in therapy, however, don't worry. Many teens are hesitant to talk to someone.

Encourage your teen to try therapy for a few sessions and then, you might allow him to make the decision about whether to continue.

If your teen outright refuses counseling, you can be the one to talk to a therapist. You may be able to gain new ideas and skills for helping your teen cope better.

Article Sources Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Children's Mental Health. Das JK, Salam RA, Arshad A, Finkelstein Y, Bhutta ZA. Interventions for Adolescent Substance Abuse: An Overview of Systematic ReviewsJournal of Adolescent Health. 2016;59(4).

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