Being a teenager is hard stuff. It’s a time in our lives of physical, emotional, hormonal, intellectual, and social changes. No wonder it’s stressful. Add to that the mounting pressures technology and social media place on teens, and it’s clear why so many struggle with being emotionally and mentally healthy.
If you’re unsure if your teen needs help, consider these warning signs:
- Sadness, hopelessness: What happened to my happy kid? No one is happy all the time, but has want sadness become the de facto daily emotion for your teen? Have you noticed your teen breaking out into tears at seemingly insignificant matters or telling you he/she doesn’t understand why they’re so unhappy?
- Irritability, anger, or hostility: Some of this is expected with a teenager, or anyone for that matter, but if these feelings start becoming more frequent, intense or are unusual for your teen, it may be growing from something more than just routine.
- Withdrawal from friends or family: Does your teen spend more and more time in their room? Avoiding social situations? How often are they engaging with their peers or participating in family activities?
- *Loss of interest in activities: Is your teen suddenly disinterested in playing in the band or signing up for soccer? Does he/she not want to do much of anything anymore?
- *Poor school performance: Falling grades and difficultly concentrating can be a big sign that something is just not right. It can be hard to focus on school work if your teen is feeling depressed or anxious.
- *Changes in eating or sleeping habits: Is your teen suddenly not interested in eating? Or the very opposite — is he/she going on food binges? Have you noticed your teen asleep at odd hours or up all night?
Seeking counseling from Move Forward for your teenager can be helpful in showing them healthy coping techniques or how to prioritize efficiently. Move Forward is a safe, welcoming place to talk through their struggles. Move Forward counselors can offer tips for your teenager on technology use, how to focus on the positivity of change, and how to be the best version of themselves every day.
For parents, we can help provide you with suggestions on how to keep your teenager content and on track.
The best thing you can do for your teen at this time is to be understanding. This time in their life is difficult. Be there, listen to them, and get them the help they need. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, they can become that happy kid again.
For Teens Who Have Experienced Trauma
TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is an evidenced-based treatment designed to help children, adolescents, and their parents overcome the impact of traumatic events. Examples of trauma could include, but are not limited to, death of a loved one, being a victim of physical, sexual, or emotional violence, witnessing domestic violence, accidents, and natural disaster.
Teens who are survivors of trauma might be experiencing these symptoms:
*lack of control
Some children may develop symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) such as intrusive memories, hyperarousal, avoidance of things that remind them of the trauma, and maladaptive views of self, others, the world and the future.
TF-CBT helps reduce these distressing feelings and symptoms, ultimately reinstating a sense of control and empowerment. The therapist, client, and parent will work collaboratively to learn about their trauma, develop a toolbox of coping skills to manage traumatic stress reactions, learn how to reframe past events, challenge distressing thoughts and beliefs in a more positive, helpful way, process the trauma in creative ways that appeal to the strengths of the client, and integrate the trauma in a positive way in which the child can feel a renewed sense of empowerment and a hopeful future.
TF-CBT is a structured, short-term treatment that lasts roughly between 12-25 sessions. This includes individual sessions for the child or teen, individual sessions for the parents, and conjoint sessions between parent and child or adolescent.
At Move Forward Counseling, Rella Miller, LSW provides TF-CBT treatment for teens. Call today to find out more details about how TF-CBT can help your teen.