You’re worried about your teenager.
Your teen seems to be struggling with more than just typical adolescent issues. But, maybe you’re not sure what is normal teen behavior.
It’s confusing that they swing between isolation and lashing out.
Your teenager seems sad, withdrawn, anxious, or angry
Your child specifically asked for help.
Teens have a very tough job of figuring out who they are in this world. And our world keeps getting more complicated, so this is a very difficult task. During adolescence, teens are sorting through lots of internal struggles. They may be dealing with conflicting feelings, conflicting pressures between friends and family, conflicting desires, values and goals, and more. Ultimately, this leaves them feeling alone and confused. And, because parents are often a source of pressure for teens, they are not the best at helping their teen work through this confusion. This is exactly why teens benefit from seeing a teen therapist that is a dedicated and neutral person that can help them sort through their feelings and goals.
Is My Teen’s Behavior Normal?
How to Know if Your Child Needs Teen Therapy
All teenagers have intense emotions, that’s normal. Lots of changes happen during this time that makes it hard for parents (and teens) to know when it’s time to get help. Here is a chart to help you determine if your teenager’s behavior is normal. If your teenager is displaying multiple signs in the abnormal column, it is time to contact us!
|Normal Teen Behavior||Abnormal Teen Behavior|
|increased moodiness||intense long-lasting mood swings, risky mood dependent behavior, major depression, severe anxiety, self-harm or suicidal thinking|
|increased self-consciousness or increased focus on their body image||social phobias or withdrawal, perfectionism, unrealistic standards, obsessive or neglectful of their personal hygiene|
|increased dawdling||multiple distractions to the point of not being able to complete tasks, lack of focus that interferes with work, regularly late|
|conflict with parents and/or siblings||verbal or physical aggression, running away|
|wanting more privacy||isolation, routine lying, hiding things|
|changes in sleep patterns||up almost all night, sleeping all day, routinely late or missing school because of a lack of sleep|
|experimentation with drugs and alcohol||substance abuse, selling drugs, peer group that is focused on using|
|increased argumentativeness and being opinionated||causing trouble with family members, teachers or others in an attempt to assert authority|
|being stressed by everyday decisions||paralyzed with indecision|
|stressful transitions||school refusal, bullying, or being bullied|
|strong interest in technology and social media||obsessive or inappropriate technology use|
If Your Teenager Asks for Help, DO NOT WAIT! Call Now for Teen Therapy
Teenagers need is to be taken seriously! Especially when they ask for help! This means honoring their requests for mental health support ASAP. The longer the time between your teenager’s request and their first therapy session, the more work your teen and their therapist will have to do. Read more about why you should call a teen therapist right away!
Here’s What To Expect When You Start Teen Therapy
Therapy with adolescents focuses most importantly on relationship building and straight-shooting. We don’t start therapy with “psychobabble” nonsense. This usually helps the teen therapist build trust with your child pretty quickly. We have some pretty cool therapists who can really “get it.” They are up on *most* pop-culture and social media trends and issues your teens may be having. At MCCC we use DBT for adolescents for commitment strategies and interventions. Also, our therapists use motivational interviewing, and experiential techniques to help your child overcome their mental health struggles.
Confidentiality and Teen Therapy
It is very important that a teenager does not feel that their therapist is working on behalf of their parents, but rather working for THEM. This helps them to buy into therapy. Research shows that motivation & willingness is the most essential factor for therapy to be effective.
A note for parents:
We can provide you with updates approximately monthly (or less, if possible) and the conversation will always include your teenager. Read about limits of confidentiality and why you should always include your teenager in conversations with their teen therapist. We will ask you to read it when you get started with us!
For cases where these boundaries do not provide enough support, we generally recommend concurrent parent coaching or family therapy. This allows a team of clinicians can coordinate care while maintaining the confidentiality between the teen and their therapist.
A note for teens:
We take your trust very seriously. Our goal is to protect your confidentiality at almost every cost. The only time we will talk with your parents is if you are in imminent danger. It is our job to protect your safety first and foremost. That way we can continue to work with you on all of your other goals. We can’t help if you’re not here!
At your first visit, you will immediately see that our office is set up to feel like a homey environment. Our waiting room feels like a large foyer and each treatment space feels like a living room. We are NOT a sterile doctor’s office! We want you and your teenager to feel comfortable and safe and not stigmatized for being with us.
Our therapists typically see great results in working with teenage clients. And at the same time, sometimes the greatest value of therapy for teenagers is planting seeds that will grow in the future. Our most important goal is to make sure we don’t turn teens away from therapy overall. It’s important that teens find therapy to be a positive experience so that they feel comfortable seeking therapy on their own in their future if ever they choose to.
What Our Clients Have Said About Their Teen Therapy Experience
I always felt validated. My therapist was able to understand and connect and when she had questions for me about something she would phrase them in ways that would help me feel comfortable opening up in session. I did individual therapy and then family therapy and both tied together very nicely and they [two therapists] were very organized and great at communicating.
I’ve learned so much about myself. Therapy has helped me solve many problems and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Begin Teen Therapy in Rockville, MD:
If you suspect your teen is struggling, or they have asked for support and therapy. Don’t wait. Call our talented team of teen therapists and get them the help they deserve! To meet with a therapist in Rockville, MD, follow these steps:
- Contact Montgomery County Counseling Center
- Schedule an intake for your teenager with one of our skilled teen therapists
- Start helping your teenager feel better now!
Other Therapy Services at Montgomery County Counseling Center
Our Rockville, MD counseling center is located near Washington DC and offers a variety of therapy services for the entire family. Our mental health services include dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), parent coaching, family therapy, child therapy, and adult therapy, couples counseling. We also offer an online parenting class for parents of struggling teens or young adults. Due to COVID-19, we are running a support group for college students, and an Aspiring to Allyship in Anti-Racism group. Also, we provide supervision opportunities for mental health professionals seeking their professional license. Reach out to our counseling clinic to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your family heal and thrive.
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