Mental Health Therapist for Your Teenager
It’s never easy to watch your child struggle, especially when they’re struggling with their mental health. I know it can be a tough road for both of you. Teens often don’t want to worry their parents with their problems.
It’s hard to know what types of treatment are best for your teen, or where to even find them.
To help you navigate through this difficult time, here’s our guide on how to choose a therapist who is right for your teen:
Table of Contents
What is Teen Counseling?
Counseling is a process of helping a person to understand, manage, and resolve issues in their life, in this case, designed specifically for teenagers.
Often these counselors include more creative interventions with games, art like drawing and painting, or writing. It can also include school or community-based programs where counselors work to help students learn skills to handle difficult situations that arise during adolescence.
When Does Your Teen Need Counseling?
There’s no single sign that your teen needs counseling. It is, however, important to be aware of warning signs for mental health issues so you can keep track of the progress your child is making. Check out this page for more info.
Your teen might be hesitant to go but will often find out they like having someone to talk to. Almost 3 million teenagers suffer from depression, it’s not an unusual occurrence.
Here are some common problems that kids may experience, and which should get a parent’s attention:
- Schoolwork is falling behind.
- Child has trouble making friends at school or in social situations.
- Family relationships are strained or non-existent.
- Child exhibits unusual behavior patterns (e.g., self-harm).
- Child has substance abuse problems/addiction issues
Find out the therapist’s approach and experience with teenagers.
When you find a therapist who seems like a good fit for your teen, it’s time to ask some questions. You want to make sure that your child will be able to relate to the therapist and that the therapist is experienced enough to handle their specific issues.
- What kind of approach does the therapist take? Are they closer aligned with cognitive behavioral therapy or something else?
- If they’re new at it, what training and experience do they have in general as mental health providers and how does this translate into being able to help teens specifically?
- Do they work on an individual basis or in groups (or both)? How many people are usually in each group session, and how is confidentiality maintained within that context?
Ask What Type of Practice Setting they work in
When it comes to practice setting, there are many different options.
Private practice mental health providers work independently from other people and may have their own private offices. They can also be employed by larger organizations that provide mental health services on an outpatient basis (i.e., not in a hospital).
This means that if your child receives care from this type of provider, you won’t be paying for them directly or through insurance.
In contrast, public sector providers are usually part of a larger organization such as a hospital or medical clinic where they provide treatment alongside other healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses.
However, public sector providers offer lower rates than those offered by private practitioners due to low overhead costs associated with working at such institutions like free office space and minimal staff salaries
Ask about the therapist’s credentials and experience as a mental health provider, especially in dealing with teens.
Ask about the therapist’s credentials, especially if you are looking for a therapist with experience working with teens.
It’s also important to discuss your own goals in seeking therapy before hiring a therapist for your teen—and what kind of therapy would be most helpful for your family dynamic—so that the two parties can find common ground when discussing treatment options later down the road (when you feel comfortable doing so).
How is family involved?
In most cases, family involvement is important.
If your teenager has a mental health condition like depression or anxiety disorder which makes it difficult for him/her to attend school regularly, then having your teenager participate in therapy sessions on weekends may be necessary so that he/she can still receive treatment while keeping up with his/her classwork at school during the weekdays.
The best therapists will have resources available within their practice that offer more information about mental health issues and how families can get involved in helping their children cope with these challenges.
Ask about what arrangements there are for emergency appointments.
If you’re looking to find a therapist, it’s important that you understand what arrangements are in place for emergencies.
For example, does the therapist have an emergency contact number or email address? Is there someone who can be contacted 24/7 if necessary? What happens if your child is feeling unsafe and needs to speak with someone urgently?
How often are parents involved?
When it comes to how often a therapist will involve parents in the sessions, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
A therapist may have their own unique style that they prefer, but many are open to varying levels of involvement from parents. You need to communicate your preferences at the initial consultation so that your child and therapist can plan together what’s right for everyone.
Some therapists may ask for weekly feedback from parents about what’s happening at home and school as well as any other stressors or challenges in the child’s life, which is helpful for them because it provides them with more context than just one session alone could offer—and some parents may find this helpful too!
Other therapists might prefer only weekly meetings with teens where they talk through specific issues without the presence of parents or anyone else involved because teens need privacy sometimes too!
If you’re still not sure whether your teen needs counseling, try to talk with them about their feelings.
You may need to take the first step and tell them how concerned you are or ask them if they think they would benefit from therapy.
If they do agree to go see a therapist, always make sure that the therapist is someone who specializes in working with teenagers or has at least some experience helping young people.