As a parent, your child’s health, wellbeing and happiness will be your number one priority. As your child grows into a teenager, it’s only natural that they will have ups and downs and periods of moodiness, but knowing if your child is struggling with something more challenging and serious can be difficult.
If you have any worries and concerns about your teen, there are numerous types of therapy to look into which cover a range of different topics. Whether your child’s behavior has changed, or they are getting bullied at school, here are some tips on how to know what kind of therapy your teenager really needs.
If you have noticed a change in your teen’s behavior and feel it’s a cause for concern, you may want to refer them to a behavioral therapist. These specialists help people on an individual and group basis with how to alter their behavior in response to their anxiety, anger, and depression. Teenagers who have eating disorders or suffer from substance abuse can also be helped by a behavioral therapist.
While a behavioral therapist is unable to single-handedly fix the condition, they teach their clients coping mechanisms which can help them lead a better quality of life. The common forms of treatments that behavioral therapists tend to use are CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy). These methods are used to examine how your teen reacts to their depression, anxiety or other mental health condition and what steps they need to take to change their reactions, behavior and thought process.
When a patient is being treated as an adolescent, in many cases, the whole family may need to have counseling. Your teen is partially a product of your home, so identifying and enhancing the relationship they have with you and other members of your household is a huge part of recovering from any issues that are present.
If you are with your partner and share a child together, the relationship you have can have a huge impact on your child’s development, so looking into ways to strengthen your marriage will not only benefit you as a couple, but improve the family dynamic. Family therapy can be a great opportunity for you all to let off steam and address issues out in the open. Although it can be hard to discuss private matters, keeping communication lines open and supporting your teen throughout the process can bring you closer together and help them feel more comfortable in opening up to you about how they are feeling.
If your teen is struggling with an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, substance abuse, loss and grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder, they may benefit from group therapy. This kind of therapy enables your teen to engage with others who have similar problems and form bonds. Talking with those in a similar circumstance can help your teen feel more confident and less anxious about opening up. Many teens feel embarrassed about their situation, so having others around them who won’t judge them and instead offer support and camaraderie can be a big help.
Group therapy can also be beneficial for teens who are struggling with behavioral problems, anxiety, or mental health conditions. While group therapy sessions are normally held alongside individual counseling, your teen may only receive the former kind of therapy.
If your teen attends school, it’s likely that the facility will have counselors or therapists that they can speak to. School therapists can help teens who are dealing with a range of problems, including bullying, arguments with friends, and poor grades. You need to understand that while a school therapist can help your teen in many ways, they may not have the expertise and resources to deal with mental health conditions like major depression, severe anxiety, and suicidal ideation.
If you believe your teen is showing signs of a moderate to severe mental health condition, you need to make sure they get the help they need from a mental health care professional. Should your teen’s school therapist believe your child is in any danger, they will contact you immediately; however, most issues that your teen discusses will be kept strictly confidential. If you don’t believe that your teen has a mental health condition, but could benefit from speaking to someone away from the family, a school therapist is the best option to start with.
We were all teens at one stage in our lives and it’s normal for your child to act out of character from time to time. However, if you have genuine concerns about their health and wellbeing, it’s important to consider all the therapy options above. Make sure that you communicate regularly with your teen and show love, care and patience to let them know that you’re there for them every step of the way.