Teen Therapy


  • Does your teen seem to be overwhelmed by school, friends and life in general?
  • Are you finding it harder and harder to just talk with your teen these days?
  • Do you notice significant changes in your teen’s behaviors and interests?  Do they seem like a completely different kid?

Being a 21st century teen is tough!  Remember your middle school and high school days?  It’s normal for kids to want to experiment with their identities, their relationships and their boundaries. AND teens today face significant challenges that adults just can’t imagine: social media, school pressure, loneliness, self-harm and suicides.

When teens are suffering from the pressures of life, it can become an overwhelming life of depression, anxiety and even trauma. Depression changes habits, behaviors and thoughts.  Sleep and eating changes are significant.  What they used the love doing or people they used to call friends are no longer interesting, and even avoided.  There are noticeable changes in weight, skin health and even posture.  Depression can look like long crying jags or huge, overwhelming anger.  You may notice cuts or bruises that just don’t make sense.   

When your teen experiences anxiety, they may be avoiding school, procrastinating or obsessing about getting it all done perfectly.  They are agitated, and struggle to sleep at night with all sorts of thoughts and worries swinging back and forth in their brain.  Teens can be stressed, but when they can’t seem to focus or start avoiding normal life activities, they really need you to notice and connect with them.

I get it.  You want to know that your teen is safe, and you want your kid back.  What I’ve discovered through the years is that teen therapy is a powerful, caring way to provide your teen with a way to figure things out with a safe adult. They can begin to learn the coping strategies they will need in their future.  Your investment in your teen’s mental health and emotional development is going to strengthen their sense of identity, which is going to bring you relief and confidence about your parenting and your teen’s future.

Adolescence Isn’t Easy…But Your Teen Doesn’t Need To Get “Lost”

Adolescence can be a time of sharp mood swings, heightened sensitivity, drama, raging hormones and sometimes defiant or risky behavior. What’s also true is that mood disorders tend to surface in the teen years.  You may be wondering if your teen is experiencing “normal adolescence” or if there is a real problem here. 

Anxiety is the most common challenge with adolescents today, followed closely by depression.  Depression can look like sadness, but it isn’t “just sadness”.  Anxiety can look like they’re overwhelmed or nervous, but it is so much more.  Both of these issues can be internalized, which means you may not even notice that your teen is struggling until they begin to “fall apart” in ways you weren’t expecting. Untreated anxiety and depression are the leading causes of teen drinking and drug use as well as suicidality and self-harm behaviors.

Teen therapy isn’t a luxury anymore. We all need resources to help our kids figure out what’s going on, what’s “normal”, and how they can make the best decisions for a healthy, thriving life…now and in their future.  Counseling for teens is also essential for kids who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-harm and risky behaviors that feel good in the moment but end up shutting down emotions and options for success and healthy relationships.

The good news is that your kid doesn’t need to suffer any longer.  Depression, anxiety and the other symptoms are treatable!

Teen Therapy Is A Place To Support The Dreams And Goals You Have For Your Teen

From the start, you and your teen will feel the safe welcoming environment at enCOURAGE Counseling.  Teen therapy focuses on trust and the therapeutic relationship, which are central to a positive counseling experience. At enCOURAGE Counseling, teens find a safe place to talk about their anxiety, depression, school and social pressure. Teens are able to be honest and open about what’s really going on.  Once we begin working together, teens look forward to having a place where they are safe, listened to and learn new ways of coping with what’s going on.

Some counselors are really clear that they use one particular type of therapy; I actually design therapy that is focused on your teen’s needs, goals, strengths and personality.  I use talk therapy strategies as well as EMDR to support your teen’s emotional healing and skill development.  I love watching teens walk out of a session with confidence and hope!

What does teen therapy for anxiety look like?

Anxiety is not just being stressed or nervous.  Your teen needs to understand what is happening in their brain and body so that they can begin to explore ways to deal with their anxiety when they get overwhelmed at school or home or in public places.  Your teen can also examine when they noticed anxiety started showing up in their lives so we can begin to heal the memories or long-held beliefs that keep them feeling trapped in the “I’m not safe” or “I can’t deal with this” mindset.  Therapy  provides skills and tools that let your teen feel empowered and free to see their life in a positive light again.

What does teen therapy for depression/suicidality/self-harm look like?

Depression therapy starts with learning what is happening in their brain and body.  Teens begin to make small goals to feel hope and momentum in an overwhelming life.  We also safely explore when depression began to show up and overwhelm them.  In a safe setting, we look at beliefs, memories and places that made them feel overwhelmed and disconnected in their world.  Your teen leaves therapy with skills, hope and deep healing that gives them a new energy and connection with the life around them!

My 30 years of working with middle school, high school and college students in education and therapy have given me a range of tools, therapeutic approaches and deep understanding of adolescents that make a profound difference in their lives. Whatever your teen may be dealing with right now, I’m confident that our work together will let them feel safe, supported and empowered.

“Yeah…but is therapy really necessary for my teen?”

“What if my teen doesn’t want to come to therapy?” 

Sometimes kids think that therapy is punishment; school or family life has gotten out of control and they are told they have to come.  Sometimes teens know they need help, but their anxiety or fears make it feel impossible to even think about counseling.  That’s why I offer a free 20-minute in-office consultation experience for your teen.  You and your teen come to the office to meet me, ask questions, and get a feel for what therapy is and if this is a “good match”. It’s important that they have a say in the decision to come to enCOURAGE Counseling.  If they decide they can try it, I always suggest we start with six sessions; defining the initial number of sessions helps them to know they aren’t stuck.

“How do I know if this is normal behavior, or if there is a serious problem? Aren’t they just sad or nervous?”

It’s normal for everyone, especially teenagers, to experience sadness and stress.  It’s emotionally healthy to have responses to situations and experiences. But both depression and anxiety are physically and emotionally overwhelming reactions to something that may or may not be observable in your teen’s life.  When kids stop participating in their own life through avoidance, panic, sleeping, numbing out with gaming, tv, drugs, food, it’s not just sadness or stress.

It really is time to get some help.

“We should be able to handle this at home or church.  Can’t we just talk with them at home and figure out what to do?”

Parents and important adults are essential for teens to feel safe and secure and supported in the world.  But sometimes there are issues that your teen needs to talk about with someone not involved with their daily life. Teen therapy includes effective communication sessions with parents.  Confidentiality is an essential ingredient in building a safe therapeutic relationship; however, your teen may decide to invite you into a session so that they can talk to you about what’s going on and what they need from you. Teens find empowerment when they use their communication skills to talk about their emotional life; including parents is a way to strengthen your relationship and empower your teen!

Therapy Can Help Your Teen Thrive!

I want to make sure you feel confident about your choice of therapists for your teen.  I welcome you to come in to the enCOURAGE Counseling office to ask questions, get to know me, and leave knowing this is a safe place for your teen’s deep healing.

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