Mental Health Therapy for Teens: What to Expect
Published On: May 8, 2017|Categories: Teen Mental Health|

For teens, struggling with a mental health condition can feel confusing, overwhelming and downright uncomfortable at times. Going through teenage years is challenging enough, but the additional hardship of battling a mental health disorder at the same time can be immensely difficult for any teen.

Thankfully, teen therapy and mental health treatment options are available – your teen will receive proper counseling and learn the tools necessary to cope with the stresses and anxieties they face.

Teen mental health treatment

Teens are vulnerable to mental health disorders like adults, including anxiety, depression, ADHD and bipolar disorder. The good news about mental health treatment for teens is that the sooner in life a person is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the more effective it may be.

You may consider therapy for your child if they begin presenting chronic symptoms, including:

  • Having irregular sleep patterns, such as too little or too much sleep or having increasingly low energy
  • Are disinterested in activities they once enjoyed
  • Have withdrawn from friends, family and social situations
  • Are you showing increasingly poor performance at school, or are you failing to show up to school on time/at all
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Begin using substances, including alcohol and drugs
  • Expressing suicidal thoughts or displaying behaviors of self-harm

All these signs and more may indicate something is happening beneath the surface and maybe your teen’s cry for help. If you begin noticing these signs in your child’s life, don’t panic, but calmly talk with them about their options to help balance their moods and emotions and handle their feelings.

What is involved in teen mental health therapy?

When presenting the treatment idea, it may leave your teen feeling skeptical or insecure. For this reason, it’s essential to assure them that treatment is designed to help, not hinder, their years as a young adult.

Before any treatment can be recommended, healthcare providers need to understand the nature of the teen’s condition. Often, a simple questionnaire is the first step in mental health therapy for teens. Healthcare providers may ask teens to fill out paperwork to describe and rate the intensity of their symptoms, or they may ask these questions in person. While it may feel like an interview, treatment providers must clearly understand what they’re handling to administer proper treatment.

Once a diagnosis is made, treatment can be provided. This can include a variety of treatment modalities, including individual therapy, group therapy, treatment through medication and more. And while treatment will help, it’s up to your teen to follow through on the “homework” at the end of treatment to see change begin.

Teen therapy activities

A helpful way to encourage your teen to be open to therapy and its benefits is by educating them on what activities they may engage in during treatment – the less unknown they need to face, the more comfortable they’re likely to be with the idea.

Everyday activities that can help your teen develop healthy coping skills include:

  • A gratitude journal – Jotting down 3-to-5 things a day they were grateful for can help shift one’s perspective and build a mindset of thanksgiving and, ultimately, joy
  • A vision board – Kind of like a giant scrapbook page, a vision board is a visual, tangible representation of one’s dreams, motivations and goals
  • A timeline – By writing down and connecting significant events in their life with potentially negative emotions or behaviors, teens can see the connection between life events and their mental well-being
  • A worry journal – This gives teens a place to write down thoughts and situations that caused them intense anxiety or worry to help them get these anxious thoughts out of their heads and out into the light

Other activities may include ones done during therapy sessions with one’s family or in a group of teens for group therapy. All activities are designed to help better understand and process emotions and situations, as well as learn how to respond appropriately to high stress and anxiety.

Would your teen benefit from mental health care?

Both short-term and ongoing therapy may be called for, depending on the diagnosis your teen’s therapist suggests. Without treatment, untreated psychiatric disorders in teens can impede their life and cause them to suffer needlessly. Therapy will help teens understand when to seek help and how to best cope with their mental health symptoms.

To best help your teen, contact High Focus Centers to learn more about the treatment offered for children and teens. Contact us anytime by calling our offices at 800-877-3628 or visiting our website to complete an online inquiry form today.

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