Triggers of Mental Health Problems Among Teens

Navigating early adulthood in the digital age can be overwhelming.  Teens and young adults feel the pressure and competition to make something of themselves in a world that demands more education, more drive, and more focus. Many parents begin noticing that their teen or young adult son or daughter are facing complex feelings as they begin to think about their future and set off in navigating their own lives.

Teens often believe others to be “further ahead” than them and to have “found their passion”, leaving them frozen in fear and indecision.  Others take off and soon return home after finding that they are not yet equipped to fly the coop often called “Failure to Launch.” Parents begin to worry when they notice their adult child is anxious, depressed, withdrawn, and unmotivated.  In mounting despair, some even resorting to substances to deal with a sense of hopelessness and declining confidence.  Young adults may become frustrated when they see themselves as unable to meet the pace and catch their stride. They want to become adults but are afraid, feel they need more certainty in choosing a path than they really do, or have negative internalized concepts of what it means to become an adult in the world. It is a real challenge.

How Teen Therapy Works

The basis is an authentic relationship with another person, a psychologist. Without this, therapy never gets off the ground. You must search to find a team that really cares, is engaged, skillful, and is the kind of person that has the ability to connect to another person on that level. This can’t be overstated.

As teen and young adult therapist, some of what we do is help teens and young adults find their voice, passion, and motivation to build a life worth living. We also help them to work through deeper emotional issues, depression, or anxiety that tend to be at the core and block their capacity to even create a fantasy of a life that seems worthwhile. They often leave therapy unburdened of the attentional struggles associated with many mental health conditions. For example, ADHD is in vogue as a neurological condition at the moment often remedied with amphetamines – many don’t want to acknowledge the social and emotional components involved, of which tend to be capitalized on pharmaceutically when in reality is treated extremely well with psychotherapy. We see these issues worked through regularly in our practice. 

Teen and young adult therapy will often gain important insights into themselves, build confidence, assume responsibility, develop a vision, gain necessary skills, and create a realistic plan to move their lives in that direction. It often requires some ability to tolerate the unknown and take steps forward without certainty or a perfect plan. 

Teen Counseling: Treatment and Approaches

Teen Therapy typically starts with treating underlying psychological issues (too much can be said here and is incredibly nuanced depending on the specifics – call us) before moving to articulating a broader vision, breaking it into smaller goals, and developing the tools necessary to navigate these challenges and embrace the next chapter. Most noticeable at the end of therapy is the pronounced ability to delay gratification and feel genuine self-esteem typically absent in the beginning of therapy when distress is blocking the better problems. 

When you are hurting, anxious, depressed, or lost you aren’t answering trying to answer the questions at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Research is clear that psychotherapy during teenage and young adults years creates a massive, lasting positive impact on adult functioning. It also establishes a therapeutic relationship with mental health professionals that you can return to again in the future.

We can help you get your son or daughter back and launch them into the exciting next chapter of life. If you are looking for teen or young adult counseling or therapy in Newport Beach, call or shoot us a text. We would love to answer any of the questions you might have. 

Teen Therapy FAQs

Yes, we do. In fact, it is our area of specialization. We pride ourselves on being very effective with people in this age group experiencing anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and substance use issues in addition to our adult patients.

Our team is seasoned in working with teens and young adults who go through the challenges of experiencing depression and anxiety, who always feel lost. However, we do not see children—anyone under the age of 12 years old or younger than pre-teens.

Role of a Parent during Adolescent therapy

In the beginning, it is wise for parents to hang back a little and allow their teen or adult child to feel ownership over their psychotherapy. After the initial phone call and completing our in-depth intake form we should have enough information to start. If parents are too involved early on it can stifle their teens ability to feel safe in treatment, or worse, make them suspicious that the therapist is working covertly for their parents agenda. 

Give them a sense of ownership during the therapy

Parents, let them feel “this is my person!” We want to honor their confidentiality so we won’t be sharing what happens in therapy, the only exception to this rule is of your kid is under 18 and we are concerned about them being a danger to themselves or another person. In the case of young adults (over 18), they have full adult confidentiality rights and we are unable to share anything at all. We do at times call for family sessions when we believe it would be beneficial to address issues as a family or between parent and child directly. This can be highly impactful/beneficial and something to work towards over time, we rarely do this in the beginning unless you are specifically coming in for family therapy from the outset. 

Let them drive their own counseling with their teen therapist

Allowing your teen/young adult to feel ownership over therapy can come in many forms – we suggest parents letting them drive to their own appointments. For teens not driving, its best to drop them off for sessions rather than sit just outside in the waiting room. Don’t pester them for information after the session but allow them to begin opening up to you on their own terms. Just wait, it will happen. You want to allow them to feel like they can open open up in privacy and that you aren’t over their shoulder while in the process or feeding updates to the therapist regularly. 

Talk and engage with the teen therapist

We can also provide parent support and guidance as an adjunct to your teens care and provide referrals both within and outside of our group, depending on your needs. We have found that parents who engage in their own therapy simultaneously while their child is in therapy demonstrate significantly greater improvements and in a shorter duration of time. 

This is not a great idea and only under the most unusual circumstances would we see individual therapy patients within the same family. We can help you find the right therapist within our clinic and pair your young adult son or daughter with the appropriate psychologist on our team but unfortunately, this cant be the same person. We suggest you show them the various options of psychologists on our team and let them make the call themselves. Creating this alliance with your adult child from the onset is a great idea, it shows you trust their decision making and support their autonomous journey into therapy.

This can vary depending on a number of factors such as the severity of the issue at hand, insightfulness, willingness, previous therapy experience, and psychosocial factors or stressors involved amongst other issues.

Teen Counseling Number of Sessions

This can vary depending on a number of factors such as severity of issues, insightfulness, willingness/motivation, previous therapy experience, and psychosocial factors or stressors involved. Goals are also an important factor. That being said, a good guesstimate is about eight weeks, give or take.

Once your adult son or daughter is feeling and doing better, our therapist will move to less frequent sessions. We never keep anyone past their expiration date and are happy to watch our patients leave our care and get back into the world on their own. In fact, this is a major source of joy and satisfaction in our work.

We frequently target esteem issues, relationship skills, self-awareness and emotion regulation. We steer clear of creating any kind of relationship of long-term dependency, although  we are always here for future support. We are here when you need us but the goal is to get your kid healthy and into the world, operating as their own therapist over time.

The research on this is clear. Yes! Early intervention is strongly correlated with higher functioning and happier young people or emerging adults.

The sooner your teens mental health illness are diagnosed the sooner we can begin providing care. Attention to mental health issues as early as possible is crucial in giving your child the best life possible—free from anxiety and depression. Our team of licensed and professional therapists are committed o providing counseling in a safe space for a counseling experience your teens can trust and rely on.