Find Teen Support
Find Teen Support
While any kind of abuse inflicted upon a teenager is illegal, it unfortunately happens. All licensed therapists trained to work with teenagers are required by law to report any abuse to authorities in order to ensure the safety of teens and others. While psychotherapists are required to uphold the law, they are also trained in providing a safe haven for teens to express the truth about their abuse without shame, blame, or criticism. In therapy, teens often fully recover from the trauma of abuse, learn ways to maintain personal safety, and ensure that the pattern of abuse ceases forever. With the support of a licensed professional, teens will not only heal from the abuse, but gain a lasting sense of empowerment, confidence, and safety.
For the majority of teens, academics are a high priority. However, not all teens are traditional learners or share the same expectations of themselves as their parents. Between friends and extracurricular activities, academics can sometimes take a back seat. Many parents struggle with getting their teens motivated not only to excel but to just complete the bare minimum required to be successful in school. Engaging in a therapeutic relationship will give teens an opportunity to uncover the psychological, developmental, and cognitive blocks to their own academic success and cultivate the intrinsic motivation needed to reach their personal best.
According to the National Mental Health Association, about 2 million teens currently suffer from some form of ADD/ADHD. In addition, at least one other behavioral or developmental problem accompanies this issue. Teens who suffer from impulsivity/inattention issues are at a higher risk for both juvenile delinquency and substance abuse. Various kinds of therapies can be key in helping these teens learn to improve focus, curb impulsivity, and gain concrete strategies for being successful, both in and out of school. Early intervention will greatly improve teens’ decision-making skills and bode a healthy, bright future ahead.
An addiction is a habit or practice that damages, jeopardizes, or shortens one's life and relationships with others. Addictions are all-pervasive and strive to solve deeper, internal problems of feeling inadequate, lacking the capacity to handle the ups and downs of life, and managing painful emotional experiences. Unfortunately, addictions are all too common for today’s teens. Teens are especially susceptible to addictions since the areas of a teen’s brain that controls impulsive behavior and weighs the risks of behaviors are not fully formed. Teens’ brains also release more chemicals, such as dopamine that regulates pleasurable experiences and the desire to repeat them. Teens can become addicted to many things including, but not limited to, alcohol, drugs, the internet, texting, video games, studying, sex, cutting, gambling, and food. When a teen’s life becomes unmanageable as a result of the addictive behavior and negatively impacts relationships and responsibilities, it is time to seek help. The good news is that early therapeutic intervention offers the greatest possibility for healing young people from the malady of addiction. Therapy will guide teens in understanding the root of their addictions while learning new, adaptive coping skills to deal with the ups and downs of life.
With the myriad of changes being experienced by teens, anger can be a common emotion felt by adolescents. Anger itself is quite healthy; however, if teens have been shamed for expressing anger, or have been given poor role modeling of how to healthily express anger, it can result in aggression and violence. Engaging in therapy will not only provide teens with the space to safely express and move through their anger, but will also equip them with tools to manage their anger effectively and diminish their propensity to engaging in aggressive behaviors.
With the myriad of responsibilities and expectations placed upon teens today, it is common that many teens suffer with anxiety. Anxiety is prolonged stress that is characterized by a constant state of fear and/or worry. Symptoms are wide-ranging and can include excessive worry about activities or events, difficulty concentrating, panic attacks, sleep disturbances, irritability, and feelings of restlessness. Receiving therapeutic intervention is key to relieving anxiety. In therapy, teens will learn tangible stress management techniques that they can apply to all areas of their life. By increasing their coping strategies, teens will build greater self-esteem, reduce their propensity to engaging in destructive behaviors, and feel calmer overall.
For teens, struggling with any of these disorders can make school life miserable and interfere with their ability to be successful in relationships. Auditory processing disorder is one in which an individual has difficulty in hearing differences between sounds. For teens, this leads to problems with reading, comprehension, and language. Sensory processing disorder is one in which an individual has difficulty responding appropriately to different sensory experiences (i.e., touch, taste, sound, and movement). This lack of appropriate response interferes with a teen’s ability to perform daily activities. Visual processing disorder is one in which an individual has difficulty interpreting/organizing visual information in order to perform a task which leads to problems with reading, math, maps, charts, symbols, and pictures. Identifying if a teen is struggling with one of these disorders involves testing, history taking, and observation by a trained specialist. Educational therapists, psychologists, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists are trained to provide the necessary evaluation and remediation needed to help teens overcome these processing issues. Without intervention, self–esteem issues are almost certain in the life of a teen who has a learning disability.
In teens, chronic physical pain and/or illness can cause academic, psychological, and emotional distress. The pain often distracts teens from their ability to remain focused, on-task, and organized. Emotionally, it can prove very difficult to cope with feelings of loss, grief, and anger associated with diminished abilities or changes in lifestyle or identity. Various kinds of therapy are highly effective in helping teens to heal and/or manage their chronic pain/illness in a way that promotes higher functioning and greater success in their life. For example, physical therapy can help heal injuries that might be causing the pain, psychotherapy can provide teens with tools to learn how to effectively manage their pain, and occupational therapy can help teach teens new ways of completing tasks and functioning in their world. Chronic pain/illness should not have to be suffered through alone and it is with focused support that teens can succeed at a higher level with the appropriate intervention.
During adolescence, physical changes are the most apparent and tend to make teens extremely sensitive to their appearance. For teens, self-esteem is closely tied to feelings about their body. Uncomfortable feelings about their physical appearance can potentially lead to poor body-image, lack of self-care, involvement in risky behaviors, and the development of eating disorders. Therapy is a useful tool that encourages a positive body image by giving teens an opportunity to explore core feelings about themselves, while examining messages from parents, friends, and the media regarding physical appearance. With professional objectivity, teens are encouraged to see themselves from the inside out, thus improving self-esteem. Teens will better understand and positively adjust to personal changes while acquiring a set of tools that will enable them to cultivate and maintain a positive body image.
Codependency is a dysfunctional way of being in relationship with another whereby the codependent continually meets the needs of his or her partner/friend at the expense of his or her own needs. For teens, this is a vulnerable issue given that fitting in socially it of utmost importance and peer pressure is at an all-time high. Many teens struggle with a fear of being rejected, so teens often compensate by compulsively going along with others or making excuses for friends’ destructive behavior out of a fear of losing the relationship. Codependency is all too common in our culture and it’s imperative that young people learn how to set healthy boundaries while cultivating a heightened sense of self-worth. Working with a trained therapist offers adolescents concrete tools to create and maintain healthy and balanced relationships with others and themselves.
For many teens and their families, attending college is a serious goal. Not only can the process of applying to college be all-consuming, but also the steps that precede it. Therapists who specialize in college planning help teens identify their talents, passions, and strengths, while exploring their options and future plan. Teens will be supported in transferring this knowledge to their college search in order to find their "best fit" colleges or post-secondary placement. Working with a trained professional can ease the stress of making the transition from high school to higher education and preserve the energy of teens and their families.
Our ability to coordinate movements so that we can catch a ball or tie our shoelaces is often taken for granted. But performing these seemingly simple tasks may be daunting for a teen with motor coordination problems. Sometimes, motor coordination problems occur in adolescents who have no obvious physical or mental impairments. Mild to moderate motor coordination problems may also accompany a range of disorders, including learning disorders, ADHD, and various congenital problems (e.g., premature birth, low birthweight, mental retardation). Adolescents with motor coordination problems are at risk for poor academic performance, low self-esteem, and insufficient physical activity participation. Teen who struggle with motor coordination problems are likely to avoid physical activity and experience frustration if they are forced to participate and this can lead to further isolation and poor self-image. Receiving therapeutic intervention—specifically occupational or physical therapy--is key as motor coordination problems do not resolve themselves, and adolescents do not outgrow them. Psychotherapy can also be helpful in encouraging teens to participate in activities that they enjoy and that do not require much hand-eye coordination or the ability to focus their attention.
With the onset of puberty, physical and emotional changes become more dramatic and complex. Teens are likely to have a lot of questions and to engage in more risky behaviors as they explore their sexuality. This topic can be too difficult or emotionally charged for parents to discuss objectively with their teens and many teens feel too embarrassed to process this topic with their own parents. Unfortunately, most teens get wrong information or misinterpret information from their friends and the media. Therapy provides a neutral space for teens to explore what it means to date, understand their changing bodies, and learn healthy, safe ways of expressing their sexuality and being in a romantic relationship.
Depression is a mental state of depressed mood characterized by feelings of despair, discouragement, sadness, and hopelessness. Depression can be triggered by stressful life events, such as school pressures, a relationship breakup, severe personal illness, or the loss of a loved one. Symptoms of depression may include persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, changes in appetite, sleep difficulties, inability to concentrate, loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, thoughts of suicide, fatigue, and on-going physical symptoms that do not respond to medical treatment, such as digestive disorders or chronic pain. Teens are especially susceptible to depression given all the hormonal changes that occur during adolescence. Studies have shown that therapy is a highly beneficial intervention--sometimes more beneficial than medication--available to depression sufferers. While in therapy, teens will have the opportunity to safely explore and express their feelings while learning concrete coping strategies for dealing with both their depression and changing life circumstances. Teens will gain a clearer, more realistic view of themselves, the world, and their future. The goal of therapy is to substantially reduce depression and increase teens’ intrinsic motivation to achieve their personal best.
Developmental disorders refer to any significant handicap with onset before age 18 affecting self-help, adaptive, cognitive, and/or social skills. These disorders impact individuals for life and can be especially difficult for adolescents. Various kinds of therapies can provide these teens with concrete tools to better manage their symptoms as well as support to understand their personal changes and guidance to help navigate the onset of increased autistic or aggressive behaviors. The teen years are laden with newfound tension and confusion and for those teens suffering from developmental disorders, learning how to manage these changes is crucial for sound health.
Divorce is very difficult, not only for the couple but for the entire family. Teens are especially vulnerable to states of depression as well as an increase in risky behaviors (i.e., substance abuse, self-injury, promiscuity, etc.) when divorce or separation occurs. Many teens are just learning about who they are and how to manage their wide range of emotions. The pain of separation/divorce is often overwhelming to teens; this confusion and lack of internal resources to respond appropriately is what leads to an increase in risky and maladaptive behaviors. Parents too can feel overwhelmed with these changes and may not be emotionally available or neutrally supportive to help their teen through this difficult time. Engaging in therapy provides the neutral space for teens to process through their own grief of the separation without the guilt of siding with one parent over another. Teens need the support of a neutral professional to help them make sense of their own confusing feelings in order to preserve familial relationships, successfully balance their other responsibilities, and find a sense of peace during hardships.
Eating disorders are psychological illnesses that are classified into 3 main categories based on symptoms: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. An individual may have an eating disorder without belonging to any one of the categories just mentioned. Eating becomes disordered when a person eats, or refuses to eat, based on psychic needs rather than physical needs. Eating disorders typically begin in adolescence and are often associated with a stressful life event--this can include things like puberty or compounded family stress/dysfunction. Eating disorders are a maladaptive way of dealing with difficulties experienced in life, both internally and externally. Therapeutic intervention is a must for teens struggling with eating disorder symptoms or full-blown eating disorders. Along with proper medical care, the goals of therapy are to encourage healthy eating, reduce symptoms of eating disorders, and facilitate physical and psychological recovery.
It is inevitable that teens will experience some level of conflict within their family. While this can cause tremendous upset, family issues are normal and can actually provide an opportunity for growth and healing within the family unit. Oftentimes, having the support of a neutral, trained professional can be paramount in successfully working through family issues. Engaging in therapy will provide teens and their families with the safety to express their respective truths as well as the specific communication tools needed to effectively mend problems. Therapy can help transform negative family issues into a deeply reparative experience for all family members.
Most commonly, teens become gang members to fulfill their need to belong. Many teens that join gangs also lack purpose in their lives, feel disconnected from their families or come from dysfunctional families, experience difficulty fitting in, feel isolated and depressed or are looking for prestige, protection and ways to earn money. Gangs prey on struggling teens that lack a sense of identity, have low self-esteem and poor impulse control. Working with either an individual or group therapist can provide these vulnerable teens with the tools to develop a strong sense of identity and belonging. Therapeutic intervention can act as both prevention and intervention providing the platform to help the teens’ family strengthen their relationships and the overall health of the family unit, thus decreasing teens’ vulnerability toward initiating into to a gang “family.” Therapy can help increase teens overall sense of acceptance, belonging, recognition, protection and loyalty within their primary and healthy relationships.
Goals are the signposts that guide us along the path of life. So, for teens, knowing how to set and follow through with goals is crucial. Setting goals not only helps teens envision a healthy future, but also teaches them more about themselves, their values, and their capabilities. Therapy will help to focus teens enough to begin setting concrete goals and then provide tangible steps to on the path to reaching those goals. With the support of a trained professional, teens will not only create but hopefully manifest in their behavior both their short-term and long-term goals.
Unfortunately, loss is a part of life. But for teens, grief and loss can come unexpectedly and prove too overwhelming to handle. Whether the grief is associated with the loss of a relationship, a loved one, or any other change, therapy is a healthy and supported way of processing through the pain of this loss. Since adolescence is a time of great vulnerability and change, teens that experience loss may be at a greater risk for more serious issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, etc. While in therapy, teens will increase their capacity for managing their own uncomfortable feelings and improve their ability to express their feelings in a healthy way.
Identity formation is the theme in adolescence. While this can be an exciting time, it can also bring with it depression, anxiety, and confusion. Therapy provides a secure base from which teens can work through difficult emotions and offers a safe space for teens to explore healthy modes of expression without the biased influence of family and friends. Therapy serves as both a guide and an anchor, helping teens discover and form an identity that is aligned with their own personal values while staying grounded by making healthy choices.
Learning disabilities are problems that affect the brain's ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. These problems can make it difficult for a student to learn as quickly as someone who isn't affected by learning disabilities. Learning disabilities is a generic term which includes, but is not limited to, dyslexia, non-verbal learning disorder, reading and writing difficulties, math disabilities, language and visual processing problems, and attention deficit disorder. Other less common conditions, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Fragile X, and Tourette Syndrome, etc. are also sometimes considered learning disabilities. For students who struggle with learning disabilities, it’s crucial that they receive the support necessary to reach their highest potential and be successful. Symptoms of learning disabilities may include poor motivation, low academic self-esteem, poor organizational and study skills, school and test anxiety, and poor social skills. Various therapies, such as educational, speech and occupational therapies, are key components to helping teens overcome their learning disabilities and transform the learning process into something positive and worthwhile. – Adapted from aetonline.org
For many teens, rebellion and stubbornness is part of the norm. However, when the rebellion or strong-willed behaviors become chronic, create severe disruption at home or school, and/or put a teen’s life in danger, they need to be taken seriously and treated. Oppositional and defiant behavior can include being easily annoyed, blaming others for mistakes, refusal to comply with adult rules or requests, spiteful behaviors, aggressiveness toward peers, etc. Oftentimes, teens who express oppositional and defiant behavior also experience depression, anxiety, and/or ADHD/ADD. Working with a trained professional is crucial in creating the structure and accountability needed to reverse this behavior. Engaging in therapy will provide teens with an opportunity to uncover the roots of this behavior and find new, adaptive ways of getting their needs met. Therapy can help improve teens’ level of self-esteem as well as their relationships with family, peers, and teachers.
Being a parent of a teen can bring with it pride and joy, but also feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, fear, and hopelessness. With the myriad of resources available today about how to successfully deal with a teenager, parents still remained lost about how to deal specifically with their changing teen. Engaging in therapy offers an opportunity for parents to learn how to promote a healthy, loving, and balanced relationship with their adolescent(s), while setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries. Whether you are a single parent or in a committed partnership, learning how to effectively deal with your child is crucial to his or her success in the world. Many therapists specialize in teaching behavior-modification techniques to employ with your teen as well as provide the space for you to currently have. Parenting skills training is appropriate for all parents, whether you are new to parenting a teenager or a seasoned parent of teens.
Peers are the most important social influence during adolescence. Fitting in is primary, so peer pressure is often at an all-time high. Since most teens are in the process of exploring and solidifying who they are becoming, peer pressure can easily sway them into making poor choices. The extreme of peer pressure is bullying and comes in three primary forms: physical bullying, verbal bullying, and indirect bullying (i.e., cyber bullying). In recent years, there has also been an increase in suicides among teenagers as a result of being bullied. For those teens who either succumb to peer pressure, get bullied, or are themselves the bullies, therapy can help. Studies have shown that those teens that suffer from being bullied or bully others generally have low self-esteem, insufficient role modeling about how to deal with conflict, lack of good judgment, and poor social skills. Engaging in therapy will provide teens with the tools needed to improve their self-image, increase their capacity for positive social engagement, and support them in developing into healthy, confident, and successful young adults.
A phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations. For teens, social awkwardness and feeling uncomfortable around someone in whom they have a romantic interest in is normal. However, when this fear prevents them from socializing at all or attending school, it might indicate a social phobia. Other kinds of phobias include specific phobias and agoraphobia. Specific phobias can include fear of a particular thing, like animals, heights, or being at home alone; while agoraphobia is a persistent and intense fear of being in public places and not being able to escape if necessary. Agoraphobia is less common for teens, but can still happen. Therapy is a crucial component to curing phobias and reducing anxiety overall. Therapy can provide teens with the understanding and tools needed to reduce their anxiety, express themselves more freely, and cultivate a greater sense of internal safety.
During adolescence, risk-taking and sense of invincibility is at an all-time high. Teens often engage in precarious physical behaviors without considering the potential consequences and unfortunately, some teens’ are at the mercy of their daring peers. Whether due to contact sports, motor-vehicle crashes, surgeries, or other injuries, various therapies, such as physical and occupational therapy, are crucial to getting a teen back on track and reclaiming their health.
Peers are the dominant social influence in adolescence. The teen decides who he or she is becoming and what his or her future roles in life will be in relation to peers. Having the social skills to navigate internal changes with external expectations is key in fitting in and feeling comfortable with others. Whether it’s making new friends, negotiating a compromise, or standing up for oneself, good social skills are crucial for the successful development of young people. For some teens, the socialization process is troublesome. Being ill-equipped socially can be the result of many things, ranging from mild autism to low self-esteem. Engaging in therapy can provide teens with the contact, skills, and self-confidence to improve their ability to fit in and socialize appropriately.
Trauma impairs our ability to be in the here-and-now and diminishes our capacity to connect to our own inner resources. Trauma is widespread and is defined by anything that overwhelms us and keeps us stuck in the fight, flight, or freeze response; trauma is not the event itself, but rather our response to external stimuli. Experiencing physical, emotional, or mental trauma provides an opportunity for us to evolve, heal and become more resilient so that we can fully experience all of life’s pleasures. Working with a trained clinician is key in healing PTSD or any other residual symptoms left over from a traumatic experience. Teens will gain the support necessary to work through past trauma while utilizing tools to reduce debilitating symptoms.
Since adolescence is the greatest time of physical, mental, and emotional change it is often the most challenging. Whether it’s the hormonal imbalance of puberty or the transition of a move to a new home or school, therapy can provide a solid ground on which teens can regain their balance. Therapy provides teens with a new, objective perspective on current life changes and offers tools to successfully navigate this unchartered territory. The earlier they gain the skills to manage change and uncertainty, the better they will fare in life.
Risky behaviors include anything that puts a teenager’s life in danger. While engaging in a small of amount of risk is somewhat normal for teens, excessive risk-taking behavior is dangerous. Risky behaviors include things such as speeding, stealing, vandalism, truancy, promiscuity, substance abuse, etc. Therapy provides the solid foundation on which teens can safely explore their motivation for engaging in high-risk behaviors. Teens will have the opportunity to learn more adaptive ways to deal with personal issues, to take responsibility for and understand the potential consequences of their behavior, and will improve their decision-making skills overall.
Finding balance amid our goals and responsibilities can be a lifelong endeavor. With the growing responsibilities and expectations of teens, maintaining balance can sometimes seem out of reach. Therapy provides an opportunity for teens to pause and candidly examine how well they are managing their own life. Teens will be encouraged to find positive ways to balance all areas of their life so that they can continue to develop healthy habits for years to come.
Adolescence brings with it the greatest amount of change--physically, emotionally, and intellectually. This time of identity formation is influenced by both internal and external factors and can cause great distress for growing teens. Poor self-esteem may manifest as being physically unhealthy, avoiding new situations, experiencing shyness or social anxiety, allowing others to take advantage of you, or appearing similiar to symptoms of depression. Engaging in a therapeutic relationship will provide teens with the unconditional acceptance needed to candidly explore their self-image. Teens will improve their ability to see themselves more objectively, diminish negative self-talk, and acquire tools to support them in continuing to improve their self-esteem. As the level of self-esteem in teens builds, so too will their success.
Self-injury is the act of inflicting physical pain serious enough to oneself to cause tissue damage (scarring) to the body. Common methods of self-injury include cutting, burning, scratching, and biting. Teens that self-injure usually do so to deal with uncomfortable and intolerable feelings that they otherwise feel unable to manage. Self-injury is also used as a way to relieve emotional pain and tension and typically not a suicidal gesture. If not treated, self-injurious behaviors can become addictive and can continue on into adulthood. Therapy is imperative to helping end the cycle of self-injury by providing a safe space to express feelings, needs, and desires. Teens will be encouraged to understand the root of their self-injury and supported in communicating the feelings, traumas, and experiences that lead to this maladaptive behavior. Teens will learn to replace self-injury with healthy coping skills in order to deal effectively with the difficult emotions preceding an act of self-harm. As healing progresses, teens will incorporate new ways to confront daily challenges, while maintaining healthy boundaries and an increased tolerance for personal thoughts and feelings.
While some teens get along well with their siblings, it's common for brothers and sisters to fight and/or compete with one another. As teens reach adolescence, their changing needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another. It can be frustrating and upsetting to witness siblings quarrel with one another and, a household that is filled with conflict can be stressful for everyone. Engaging in psychotherapy and garnering support from an objective professional can help to promote peace in your home and provide teens with skills needed to work through conflicts appropriately and reconnect with their families.
Over 100 sleep disorders have been identified and are defined by any condition that interferes with sleep. Sleep disorders are characterized by disturbance in the quality or timing of sleep, amount of sleep, or in the behaviors or physiological conditions associated with sleep. Many teens suffer with chronic insomnia. And the problem is that missing sleep repeatedly affects every part of a teenager’s life--from mood, to relationships with friends and family, to the ability to concentrate at school. Many teens who miss sleep suffer with irritability, mood swings, and even depression. Oftentimes, sleep disorders and psychological disturbances such as depression and anxiety are closed linked. Therapy is important for helping teens to identify the psychological cause of their sleep disturbance. Gaining professional support is helpful in treating and curing the mood issues that arises in conjunction with sleep disorders.
Many teens struggle with speech-language issues and if not addressed, can interfere negatively with teens’ ability to be successful--academically, socially, and emotionally. Common speech-language disorders include: stuttering, cluttering (difficulty organizing what one is thinking into words), articulation issues (omitting sounds, adding sounds, lisping), and apraxia/dyspraxia (problem with motor coordination or motor planning). Working with a speech-language pathologist is key in resolving these issues so that teens can enjoy their adolescence, feel good about who they are becoming, and see learning, expression, and communication as something positive.
Adolescence is the time in life when experimentation--from drugs to personal identity--is at its highest. The most recent statistics indicate that the average teen starts abusing alcohol by age 12 and marijuana by age 14 (Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Volume I. Summary of National Findings - Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-38A, HHS Publication No. SMA 10-4856 Findings. Rockville, MD.). In 2010, 1 in 3 teens (aged 12-17) used marijuana and 49.5% of teens surveyed said it would be fairly easy or very easy to obtain marijuana (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - 2010). Whether it’s alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, prescription pills, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin use, the earlier the experimentation and use of these substances, the greater the likelihood of more serious abuse and addiction later in life. All teens are at-risk for addiction, especially if they have poor coping strategies, limited social skills, little or no emotional support network, or suffer from psychological disturbances such as depression or anxiety. Therapy is a crucial component for both substance-use prevention and intervention. In therapy, teens will safely explore and express past hurts and current stressors. Teens will learn to increase their tolerance for painful feelings, broaden their range of healthy coping strategies, and improve their decision-making skills. Teens will learn sound stress management techniques to deal with difficulties preceding alcohol and/or drug use and will enhance their capacity for self-assertion and their ability to say “no” when faced with the choice to use.
While thoughts about death are normal, persistent thoughts about how to intentionally end one’s life are not. Adolescence is a stressful developmental period filled with major changes and for some teenagers, normal developmental changes, when compounded by other events within and outside of their families, changes in friendships, hardships in school, or other losses can become overwhelming. For some, suicide may seem like a solution. When changes in behavior or specific plans for suicide accompany persistent thoughts about death, teens are at greater risk for suicide. Early intervention and professional support is critical in helping teens increase their capacity to manage their life in a healthy way and decrease their preoccupation with death.
In San Diego County there are 36 communities that have teen pregnancy rates higher than the state average. This is a prevalent issue and one that requires much sensitivity and support. Since teen pregnancy can increase one’s risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, it is imperative that teens receive the support needed to make their right choice when it comes to pregnancy. In therapy, teens will have the opportunity to explore their options objectively without the bias of family or friends. Pregnant/post-pregnant teens will learn new, healthy ways of coping with difficult choices, loss, and increase their capacity for improved decision-making skills.