Teens today face a lot of stress. They might be pressured to do well in school so they can attend college, participate in extracurricular clubs and activities, and maintain friendships. They may have unique family expectations, and social pressure to fit in. Many teens encounter these kinds of problems, but sometimes stress can reach a level where it might benefit to seek professional help.
Meeting with a therapist can help teens work through their stress and achieve a better state of wellbeing. Here are some of the most common reasons a teen may go to therapy.
School and social-related issues
School is a huge part of a teen’s life. Teens have to work for good grades, finish homework, ace tests, and prepare for big exams. Plus, teens have to navigate cliques, peer pressure, and school politics. It doesn’t end when they leave for the school day, too: social media plays a big role in teens’ social habits. Understandably, balancing school and social-related pressures can affect teens negatively. A teen might develop test anxiety, burnout from college prep, or peer pressure to fit in or be in a relationship. With guidance from a therapist, teens can learn how to manage stress and pressure. They can better understand their feelings and motivations, and those of others. Not only will this help their school experience, but it will also set them up for success in their adult lives.
Over 50% of teens in the United States have been bullied or harassed online. That includes offensive name-calling, spreading false rumors, receiving explicit images, and more. About 90% of teens believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age. Whether people are bullied in person or online, the results are similar: you might feel hurt, angry, afraid, helpless, or ashamed. There’s a greater risk of developing depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. And you’re more likely to skip or drop out of school to avoid being bullied there.
There’s no one right way to handle bullying effectively. Therapy can help bullied teens learn to manage the stress generated by bullying. A therapist can also encourage teens to view it from a different perspective, and remember that the bullying is not their fault. Sharing feelings about the experience can also help you feel better and less alone, even if it doesn’t change the situation.
In adolescents, the second leading cause of death is suicide. With recent suicides of public figures like Robin Williams, Kate Spade, and Anthony Bourdain and growing awareness of teen suicides, parents might be concerned for their teens. Though research continues on ways to decrease the rate of teen suicides, therapy has been proven to have a positive effect on teens with suicidal thoughts or attempts, which is important. In therapy, teens can express their thoughts and feelings openly. They can connect with a therapist and feel supported.