Counseling for Teenagers

Counseling is for people of all ages, including teenagers. Too often, teenagers don’t start or seek counseling until after they have gone through something traumatic or they are dealing with something especially difficult. While counseling is certainly helpful in these situations, counseling can also support teenagers who aren’t necessarily going through something society would deem traumatic. Counseling provides teenagers with a safe place to express and process emotions, experiences, worries, and fears. 

Teenage Mental Health

The teenage years are difficult for everyone. Navigating school, friendships, family life, and extracurricular activities, all while thinking about the future, is nothing less than overwhelming. Add smartphones and social media to the mix, and being a teenager is even more challenging.  Teenagers today are experiencing more mental health struggles than ever. Did you know that nearly 20% of high schoolers have had serious thoughts of suicide, or that 44% of high schoolers persistently feel sad or hopeless? (Read more teenage mental health statistics.)

Sadly, most teens are not getting help when it comes to their mental health. For example, more than 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as embarrassment or lack of support. With depression and suicide rates rising, it is more important than ever that we take teenage mental health seriously. Destigmatizing counseling and encouraging teenagers to seek professional counseling is just one of the steps we can take to do that. 

Benefits of Counseling for Teenagers

Working with a professional counselor can be beneficial for all teenagers, but especially those whose mental health is struggling. Counseling provides teens with a safe place to share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and fears without worrying about being judged, reprimanded, or punished. Working with a counselor can boost teenagers’ confidence and mood. Additionally, it provides teens with practical tools to process and work through those emotions and find their path to restored mental health. 

Counselors can also refer teenagers and their families to psychiatrists or other medical professionals if they believe that medication would be helpful.

Reasons a Teenager Might Pursue Counseling

There is no right or wrong reason to see a counselor. And like we mentioned before, every teenager can benefit from counseling services. If there’s any part of you that thinks talking to a counselor might benefit your teenager, listen to it. 

Teenagers who are suffering from any of the following mental health disorders might seek counseling services:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Social anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Peer pressure
  • Self-harm
  • Trauma
  • Stress

While these reasons to see a counselor are specific, there are other reasons teens might pursue counseling. For example, a teenager might wish to be able to talk through personal struggles with someone besides a parent or close friend. Because counselors are objective third parties, they have the ability to listen without bias. Teens might be more comfortable confiding in a counselor who they know will not be harsh with them, rather than a parent who might not respond without judgment or criticism. 

Encouraging Your Teen to See a Counselor

If you have a teenager who you know or suspect is struggling with mental health issues, start the conversation about counseling today. You might bring it up casually at first if you think your teen will be opposed to considering it. Encourage them that counseling is for everyone, and that there is no shame in it. 

Be careful about forcing them to see a counselor. Sometimes this is necessary, but counseling is typically much more productive and beneficial when a teen comes on their own accord. If your teen is hesitant, ask them questions to figure out why. Keep the dialogue open and be sure to listen to their concerns. It might take time and several conversations before your teenager warms up to the idea of counseling, or even is willing to consider it. Be patient!

Alternatively, if it is your teen who approaches you with the idea of seeing a counselor, support them! It takes courage and trust to bring up something like counseling; let them know that you are proud of them for taking that step. Then research local counseling services for teenagers and find a counselor that your teen can trust.

Don’t wait until something has happened to seek counseling for your teenager. Instead, look for a counselor who can support your teenager through whatever they may be going through internally.

Counseling for Teenagers in California and Nevada

At Lucero Wellbeing, teenage mental health matters to us. We are a private practice that provides counseling services to teenagers in California and Nevada. We also provide in-person and telehealth mental health, career coaching, and psychological assessment services. If you are a parent or caregiver of a teenager, contact us today to learn more about our therapy services for teenagers and request an appointment.