Why do I have to go to counseling? Do I really need to go? These are the questions that teenagers ask their parents if they require or suggest to them that they need to go to counseling.
Am I Crazy?
First off, counseling is not for “crazy” and non-communicative people. Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC once said, “Just because I’m in therapy it doesn’t mean that I am crazy. No one is going to invalidate your problems.” Second, in our world today, at least one out of five teenagers have a mental health concern that needs to be addressed, and no, it doesn’t mean they’re crazy. They just need help to overcome that mental health issue. Third, it is prevalent to experience depression, anxiety, and extreme stress in school and with friends. These are just some of the many mental health issues. It is also the very reason why teenagers need counselors who can assist them in understanding themselves and learning how to cope with such conditions.
Why Do Teenagers Have Mental Health Issues?
It’s not just teenagers. At one point in the lives of every living soul on this planet, they will experience a mental health issue. It is very normal. What causes these problems?
- Medical conditions can affect the way a person acts, thinks, and feels strangely. The counselor or therapist will have to rule out medical reasons as the cause of the mental health issue before going in a treatment program.
- A violent experience may trigger mental health issues in a teenager.
- Severe stress is another factor. “Unhealthy stress is when you are facing negative circumstances (e.g., loss of a job, loved one, or relationship).” says Jessica Harris, LCPC, LPC
- Grief can be a mental health issue cause, as well. When a loved one dies, if you go through a break-up, or a special person moves away, you will feel overwhelmed and very lonely. Some can cope, but others cannot.
Types Of Teenage Counseling Programs
There are three counseling programs fit for a teen with mental health issues. These are the Individual Counseling, Group Counseling, and Family Counseling. A specific plan will be advised for a teenager that will suit his needs.
Individual Counseling involves a one-on-one session with a therapist or counselor. Each session may be around 50 minutes wherein the counselor will ask how you feel about your problems in life. You can talk to the counselor about your parents, family, school, friends and special someone.
Group Counseling involves a group of about five teenagers with one to two counselors facilitating them. The teen group therapy session can last up to 90 minutes wherein the counselors will ask questions, and the teenagers can speak up. They can also ask their queries and learn from one another.
Family Counseling involves the whole family – parents, and siblings – to go to therapy together. Everyone will be able to voice out their problems within the family, and the counselor will see to it that issues are resolved.
How Long Will Teenage Counseling Last?
It depends on the severity of the mental health issue on the teenager. Therapy happens at least once a week and can last for as short as three months; that means 12 to 15 sessions. For some who have extreme problems, the meetings can go for years.
If I Don’t Like My Counselor, What’s My Option?
You can only have progress if your relationship with the counselor or therapist is based on trust. If you don’t like your therapist, there will be no trust, and the sessions will be all a waste. And so, you can always change therapists or counselors if you don’t feel comfortable or if you don’t like the current one.
You Must Remember These Things
Your counselor will not solve your problems for you. He will provide suggestions on how to fix your issues or cope with your problems. But if you don’t act on it yourself, then, there will be no progress. “A good therapist should be open and willing to understand your concerns. If your counselor doesn’t take your concerns seriously or is unwilling to accept feedback, then it’s probably in your best interest to consult with another therapist about it.” That is according to Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC.
Never engage in a romantic relationship with your counselor. It is inappropriate. You are a teenager and a minor, and even if you are over 18, a therapist or a counselor must never engage in sexual innuendos with their clients. Inform your parents immediately should you feel that your counselor is maliciously touching you or more.