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It is widely acknowledged that adolescence marks a challenging transition from childhood to adulthood, marked by physical maturation, identity development, a struggle for independence from parents, fostering deeper relationships, and exploring career directions for the future. However, today’s teens face increasingly difficult pressures, which are reflected in the rising rate of significant mental health problems.

Today’s American culture provides more opportunities than ever before, yet these exciting possibilities create additional challenges. An increase in opportunity has brought a greater pressure to succeed, additional stressors, more temptation, and greater risk for emotional and physical damage. As means increase and technology advances, access to information and services is becoming instantaneous. The faster pace in life places expectations on teens to grow up faster and handle adult-level issues sooner than their emotional and cognitive skills can mature to cope with appropriately. Teens are searching for independence and developing their unique identity while at the same time trying to fit in and be accepted by their peers. This can present difficulties when they are in need of support, as they often do not want parents to know everything about their life and may feel insecure about sharing their struggles with even their closest friends.

Counseling presents a unique opportunity for adolescents to get support in a safe place that is outside of their daily lives. Teens are given acceptance and space to be just as they are. They are provided the respect of a young adult, but within the boundaries of their not-yet-adult status. They are able to get advice and assistance from someone who is safe and trustworthy and completely there to help them grow into their best selves. The teenage years are both wonderful and challenging and can be an ideal time to participate in counseling to learn the lessons and coping skills that will allow them to grow into healthy adults.

When I am working with pre-teens (11-13) or teens, I am approachable and aim to strike a balance between an informal and professional style. This allows them to feel respected as the individual that they are and gives them space to share and explore their unique feelings and opinions. When teens are feel comfortable saying or feeling anything without worry of judgment, they open themselves up to really addressing their challenges and learning from their experience. Through this process, teens find enduring personal growth, positive change and stronger self-esteem.

Common issues teens face:
  • Anxiety
    • Social Anxiety (socializing, making new friends, dating)
    • Test anxiety
    • Public speaking anxiety
    • Excessive worrying
  • Depression
  • Pressure to succeed
  • Academic Difficulties
  • Sports Issues
    • Emotional issues affecting sports performance
    • Leadership decisions
    • Deciding whether to play after high school
    • Issues with teammates and coaches
    • Dealing with injuries
  • Planning for life after high school (college, career interests, etc.)
  • Difficulty juggling many responsibilities
  • Fitting in with peers
  • Dating issues
  • Bullying
  • Peer pressure
  • Decisions relating to alcohol, drugs, and sex
  • Body image issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Identity issues
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence issues
  • Conflict with parents
  • Conflict with siblings
  • Issues related to social media
  • Concentration and attention difficulties

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