What can an adolescent therapist help with? Adolescence is a tumultuous time, and a therapist can help with the challenges that arise, whether they relate to emotions, academics, disruptive behaviors, self-esteem, friendships, family dynamics, sexual or gender identity, or alcohol and drug use. A therapist can help teenagers unpack their emotions, understand their experiences, and develop coping skills.
When does a teenager need to see a therapist? Exploration and existential struggle is a normal part of adolescence, but if your teenager’s emotions or behaviors change so as to disrupt their ability to function academically or socially, you may want to consult a therapist. For example, if a teen’s grades in school drop suddenly or if they begin isolating from their friends and only spending time online, a parent may want to consider therapy.
What therapy types are suitable for teenagers? Teenagers may especially benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (which identifies unhealthy thought patterns to change emotions and behaviors), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which teaches emotion regulation and distress tolerance, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which teaches emotional acceptance and psychological flexibility, and interpersonal therapy, which targets interpersonal difficulties. Additionally, adolescent problems may involve family members; family therapy to improve family dynamics and communication is helpful in those cases.
How can I recognize a good adolescent therapist? A great therapist for teenagers is someone who has experience working with this age group and understands the unique challenges they face in adolescence.They should be someone your teenager feels comfortable opening up to, even if that process takes time. And as is the case for any mental health professional, they should also be properly licensed and credentialed.