Adolescent Therapy and Texas Care
Many challenges and rewards come from counseling adolescents. Teenagers struggle with different issues than younger children and adults such as identity struggles, extreme peer pressure and fitting in. They often feel stuck between wanting independence and still needing guidance. Teens are more likely than adults to make decisions without considering the consequences and feel invincible. Therapists have to understand the developmental challenges of teens to provide effective counseling to them.
Texas Care believes psychotherapy refers to a variety of techniques and methods used to help children and adolescents who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. Although there are different types of psychotherapy, each relies on communications as the basic tool for bringing about change in a person's feelings and behaviors. Psychotherapy may involve an individual child, a group of children, a family, or multiple families. In children and adolescents, playing, drawing, building, and pretending, as well as talking, are important ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.
As part of the initial assessment, our licensed, qualified professionals will determine the need for psychotherapy. This decision will be based on such things as the child's current problems, history, level of development, ability to cooperate with treatment, and what interventions are most likely to help with the presenting concerns. Psychotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments (medication, behavior management, or work with the school). The relationship that develops between the therapist and the patient is very important. The child or adolescent must feel comfortable, safe, and understood. This type of trusting environment makes it much easier for the child to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use the therapy in a helpful way.
Psychotherapy helps children and adolescents in a variety of ways. They receive emotional support, resolve conflicts with people, understand feelings and problems, and try out new solutions to old problems. Goals for therapy may be specific (change in behavior, improved relations with friends or family), or more general (less anxiety, better self-esteem). The length of psychotherapy depends on the complexity and severity of problems.
Replacing Negative Self-Talk
Many times, teens who struggle with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety experience a lot of negative self-talk, which means that the thoughts they have about themselves are usually negative.
Another technique many therapists who work with adolescents use is encouraging their clients to try out group counseling, reports the University of Maryland Counseling Center. Techniques that you can use as a group counselor include making the teens realize that they aren’t alone in their problems and getting the teens to help each other out. A teenager might not respond to an adult, even if she is a therapist, when she tries to tell him that drinking until he passes out is dangerous, but he might listen to one of his peers. Using other teens who’ve struggled with the same problems can be extremely effective when working with an adolescent population.
Repeating Information Through Questions
When working with adolescents, counselors have to be careful not to push their clients away by combating them over every issue. Instead, you can repeat information that sounds irrational and unreasonable back to a teen in the form of a question. For example, a teen might say, “I don’t care that I get teased every day.” Instead of saying, “Of course you care,” and pushing the client away, a therapist could respond by asking, “So it doesn’t bother you that your peers make fun of you on a daily basis? How does it make you feel?” When put into a question, many teens think about the statement they just made and it sounds different, and possibly irrational, coming from someone else. In this case, you’re not objecting to what the adolescent said. Instead, you’re asking following up questions.
For more information on Adolescent Therapy and/or other Texas Care services, feel free to call 888-98TODAY and an Intake Coordinator will be happy to take your call and direct you to the appropriate department. Visit our FAQ page for more information on how Telehealth, Telemedicine, and TeleBehavioral Health can work for you.