Does Your Teen Need Counseling?
Do you lie awake at night worrying about your teenager? Have you noticed abrupt behavior or academic changes? Has your teenage son or daughter changed friend groups or have they become more isolated? Do you suspect substance abuse, bullying, or self-harming behavior? As an adolescent and teen counselor in Atlanta, I treat these issues on a regular basis. So, If the answer to these questions is "yes," then Atlanta teen counseling can help!
These are all issues that are common for so many teens who are struggling psychologically and emotionally with the landscape of adolescence. You are likely worrying constantly and may feel like you’ve lost connection with your teenager. As an Atlanta teen counselor, I'm very familiar with all of these challenges and I can help your teenager navigate through them.
Why Teen Counseling is Important
Adolescence is period of human development marked by enormous change. Factor in high stress and fast pace of living associated with living in cities like Atlanta, and you have teens that have become more vulnerable to mental health disorders. Teens are migrating away from relying on parents for emotional support and transitioning to their friends and peer group. While this is very natural, it can be complicated by worrisome behaviors that your teenager is showing. Teens are going through enormous cognitive and emotional changes. Couple that with a still developing prefrontal cortex (responsible for thinking through consequences of behavior), and now we have the potential for worrisome and reckless teen behavior.
Though your teen is learning how to become more independent, he is still in need of support. Teen counseling in Atlanta is available for many of the issues your son or daughter is likely facing. Being a teen counselor in Atlanta allows me to help your son or daughter identify underlying issues specific to them, help them find ways to cope with stress and intense emotions, and provide a place of understanding.
How a Teen Counselor Can Help
Throughout your search I’m sure you’ve already found that many Atlanta counselors do not provide counseling for teens. Atlanta teen counselors are not only highly trained in working with the teenage population, we also gravitate toward that population because we are able to connect. Unlike most adults who come to therapy, many teens are either being forced to come by parents or they are just apprehensive talking to anybody who isn't a friend. Teen counseling is a specialty that focuses on all of the specific needs your son or daughter has in this turbulent time of adolescence.
As a teen counselor, I work hard at connecting and building rapport and trust. Teens are often skeptical of adults and this can lead to the suspicion that a therapist will side with parents. I've provided teen counseling in Atlanta for over a decade and look forward to working with them because I know how difficult this stage of development is. These difficult times also have a strong impact on the family system. Because of that, I do spend some time with parents to partner in your teenager's mental health. These are some of the issues facing your teen today:
Teen Counseling for Bullying
Whether in secret or in the open, being bullied can cause a great deal of emotional distress and feelings of powerlessness. With all of the (much needed) attention given to bullying, parents often fear the worst. Teen counseling focuses on processing all the feelings that come along with being targeted and rejected. I also look for strategies to get support from school, family, and peer group. Ultimately, my goal as a teen counselor is to not only increase feelings of safety and security, but resilience and self-confidence.
Teen Counseling for Low Self-Esteem
Teens constantly compare themselves to others on a daily basis, sometimes minute by minute. They measure their own worth by their peer groups and popularity as well as all of the trends of the day. This leads to constant insecurity shown by irritability, anxiety, self-hatred, and depression. Measuring up to others and seeking to gain control over their emotions may also lead to eating disorders and body dysmorphia (distorted self view of the body). Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders are increasingly showing up in teen boys as well as girls. As a teen counselor, my job is to help your son or daughter find their own inherent value and not look for the approval of others.
Teen Counseling for Relationship Problems
Relationships and friendships during adolescence are becoming more complex than in the preteen years. The importance of status and the peer group are of utmost priority. Your teenage son or daughter is becoming more reliant on his or her peers and less reliant on you. Teens may also use the word "friend" to describe anybody from acquaintances to besties. Teen dating relationships lasting for even short periods of time can have a deep emotional impact on boys and girls. Teen counseling focuses on social conflict in peer groups, volatile dating relationships, poor emotional boundaries, and reckless behavior.
Teen Counseling for Academic Pressure
Your teenager likely faces academic challenges regularly that can lead to her experiencing anxiety, stress, moodiness, depression, pressure to perform, lack of concentration, and loss of motivation. The pressure to succeed can be enormous. Completing all assignments and projects, balancing extra curricular activities, time-management, and preparing for college can be a lot for his teen brain to manage. Pressure comes from all angles including school, perceived (or real) pressure from parents, and self-imposed pressure. Teen therapy offers a way for teens to vent, process their stress, and brainstorm ways to manage time and find solutions to achieve their academic goals.
Teen Counseling for Substance Abuse
Many teenagers will experiment with alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Some are on the road to developing habit and addiction based on other underlying factors in their lives. Many times this leads to relationship, health, and legal problems. The most important part of treatment for substance abuse is exploring and finding out what the underlying causes are to this problem behavior. Whether there are family problems, self-esteem issues, academic issues, social issues, depression, anxiety, rejection, etc., something is driving substance abuse. Teen therapy directly confronts the problem behavior of using drugs and alcohol. As a teen counselor, I examine any and all underlying issues to develop the best treatment plan for success.
Teen Counseling for Divorce
Adolescents are very perceptive and usually know when a divorce is coming. Your teen can experience increased anxiety, depression, feelings of insecurity, as well as disdain for one or both parents. Because experiencing a divorce can be emotionally draining for them, your teen may lose focus in school, sports, and activities and become apathetic. Whether parents are fighting, in the process of separation or divorce, or post-divorce teenagers need support outside of friends and family. Teen counseling allows your son or daughter to share feelings about divorce and about you. My goal as a teen counselor in Atlanta is to provide a safe place to sort through these problems and learn coping strategies to get through them.
Teen Counseling for Self-harm
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding self harm as it is more prevalent now than previous generations. These are the top 3 myths about self-harm:
"Adolescents self-harm for attention."
FACT: A teen who self-harms typically hides her cuts and scars. She usually wears a lot of bracelets, long sleeve shirts, or cuts in places that are not visible (thigh, upper arm, etc.). Teenagers who cut are not on Instagram or Snapchat putting their scars on display, instead they are cutting or self-harming in private, to deal with whatever pain is going on in their lives.
"Only girls self-harm."
FACT: An increasing number of teen boys are self-harming through cutting or other methods. Emotional instability and dysfunctional coping mechanisms do not know gender. Boys and girls have the same propensity to try things that feel good or numb the pain that they are feeling. It may be less common than with girls, but and increasing number of boys are self harming.
"If my teen is self-harming then they must be suicidal."
FACT: While many gestures of self-harm resemble suicidal gestures they are not the same. People who self-harm often do it in ways that may be dangerous or painful, but not lethal. When a teen is self-harming they are attempting to deal with pain. They are either introducing new pain (cutting) as a way to distract from emotional pain or they are introducing new pain to numb themselves from emotional pain in their lives. Adolescents who self-harm often report feeling better after harming and barely noticing their injury. This is short lived and thus creates an addictive/habitual pattern. Regardless, if your teen is self-harming they should be assessed for suicidal thoughts.
Teen Counseling for Trauma
Unfortunately, teens can experience many forms of trauma including abuse, sexual assault, auto accidents, death of family member(s), witnessing domestic violence, and loss of a friend or peer to suicide. These are among the most difficult circumstances a teen counselor can help your son or daughter with. Depending on the severity, a traumatic event can leave feelings such as:
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Development of phobias
- Substance abuse
- Concentration problems
- Anxiety and panic attacks
I provide teen counseling in Atlanta located in the Midtown/Buckhead area. I see teenagers in Atlanta ages 13 and up and also provide family counseling. Ease your worries today and call or email to help your teen son or daughter find the support they need!
Helpful Links for teen mental health: