As teens emerge into adulthood and experience both physical and environmental changes, this time can be very difficult to navigate. Therapy is a safe space where teens are able to express concerns they may not feel comfortable talking about with a friend or family member. During this time of adolescence teens are navigating finding a sense of identity, establishing romantic interest, self-esteem, and temptation (peer pressure). Additionally, the current pandemic has made an impact on teens’ well-being.
Therapy can be very useful for teens experiencing the following:
- Adjustment concerns (school, family changes)
- Social concerns (dating and relationships)
- Desire to increase self-awareness
- Disruptive classroom behavior
Concerns which require clinical attention such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance use will require more significant attention. Despite the reason for seeking therapy, the following include some of the lifelong skills teens are able to develop during this time.
Teens commonly report feeling anxious in social situations or having difficulty building relationships offline. Whether in person or through virtual methods, communication will remain a vital part of teens’ lives as they continue emerging into adulthood. Active listening, nonverbal communication, and empathy are all important skills which can be developed during therapy. Effective communication is important for all relationships, including problem solving scenarios.
Developing the ability to self-reflect is a lifelong skill that encourages one to take a look at their own behaviors, emotions, and areas for growth. Teens commonly develop unrealistic beliefs about themselves that is harmful to their emotional and behavioral wellbeing, and social interactions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of intervention that can be used to help teens make the connection between their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. CBT is supportive in identifying patterns that lead to the behaviors one wishes to change such as negative thought patterns and including self-destructive thoughts. During therapy, as teens become more aware of these thought patterns, they also develop the skills to intervene and create change.
While problems are inevitable, it is the skills we develop to solve them that can make all the difference. Effective problem-solving skills include, calm communication, active listening, and taking the time to brainstorm possible solutions. Crafting an action plan is a process that teens are able to develop during therapy which is indeed a lifelong skill. Benefits of developing effective problem-solving skills include responsibility, maturity, and increased career readiness.
Healthy Coping Skills
Oftentimes teens have not yet developed effective coping skills for the situations they are experiencing. Generally speaking, it is common that we choose the coping strategy that makes us feel good while this does not always benefit our wellbeing and may even make the situation worse. Through talking with a therapist, teens are able to dive deeper into what habits may be holding them back from achieving their full potential. During this time teens will be able to gradually process why certain strategies work for them and others do not as coping skills are unique. Healthy coping skills are able to make uncomfortable and stressful situations more tolerable to push through. Additionally, resilience and self-confidence are strengthened as teens develop a toolkit of strategies for us during challenging times.