Engaging in adolescent counseling during times of growth and transformation can prove to be extremely beneficial for youth. Teens are rapidly changing during the period of adolescent development. This includes changes in their physical appearance, emotional insight and thought processes. Teens also mature and develop at different rates from each other, which adds to the complexity of this period of growth. It is a challenging time for any individual to navigate on their own. While parental support is essential, teens are also wanting to separate themselves from their parents, no matter how healthy these relationships have been in the past. 

Adolescent counseling can offer teens a safe space to explore physical and psychological changes, mental health issues, peer pressure, social anxiety, stress management as well as academic stress. Through teen anxiety treatment, many of these issues can be worked on.

At Forward Thinking Psychological Services, we offer OCD and anxiety treatment for teens across Canada. You can access our online therapy services if you live in Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick. No longer do you have to worry about finding a therapist near your home. We can help you from all across Canada! Contact us today to learn more!

Read on to learn more about all the different ways in which adolescent counseling can help your teen!

Emotional Turbulence During Adolescence

Adolescents and teens experience a large range of emotions –  often very quickly – during times of stress. During adolescence and early adulthood, our ability to regulate emotions becomes more developed. Learning this skill through teen online counselling services can be very beneficial. 

Some very important findings from research in terms of decision making and emotion regulation during adolescence:

  • Teens and youth may be more sensitive to feedback in social situations. Although this can be helpful in terms of adaptation to different social settings, it can also enhance feelings of rejection and exclusion. 
  • Peers are of utmost importance during adolescence. Having friends who accept you is essential when we are in our teens. This can sometimes lead adolescents to make impulsive or high risk decisions when emotions are running high. It will also lead to teens supporting their friends in challenging situations automatically and without debate. This can be important for teen friendships. 
  • Later on in our teens and into early adulthood, we are more able to understand the perspective of those around them and think in a more sophisticated manner. Development of this skill can also be highly effective during CBT therapy techniques when teens learn about cognitive reframing and perspective taking. 

Learning emotion regulation skills during adolescent counseling is highly effective. When teens are faced with difficult situations, we want to help them develop skills to tolerate that distress and develop the ability to self soothe during times of stress. How can we help our teens during this time?

Imagine that your teen is trying to work on a difficult presentation but they are unable to get started. How could a parent help? You might sit with them and walk them through the plan for the paper or even start writing the first sentence or two. And then you might try and walk away so they can work on this on their own. This can allow your teen to figure out how to tolerate distress, without it being overwhelming for them. In doing these behaviours, the parent is also modelling and encouraging behaviours that you want your teen to eventually do on their own using a process called scaffolding

Adolescents can learn many different emotion regulation skills through online counseling. Working with a therapist through an online counseling platform can be accessible and flexible for teens and parents with busy schedules. At FTPS, we recognize how challenging it can be to try and be at an in-person therapy appointment after a busy day of school. That is why we offer online therapy services in Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick

Academic Stress During Adolescence

Adolescence is often a time of significant academic stress. A recent systematic review by synthesized the relationship between academic pressure and the connection with adolescent depression, anxiety, harm to self and suicidal behaviour. The article refers to two large surveys that were completed and demonstrated how adolescents indicate academic pressure as being a top influencing factor on the state of their mental health. Teachers and parents also cite concerns about academic pressure often rising and the negative impact it can have on teens’ mental health issues. 

adolescent counseling

These are significant issues faced by adolescents. How can adolescent counseling help?

The best anxiety treatment for teens will take a holistic approach and help individuals learn ways to manage stress. In terms of academic pressure, it is always important to ensure that teens have support to manage their workloads and space out assignments and studying over time. This can help decrease feelings of being overwhelmed and allow the work and pressure to be handled in small manageable chunks. Mental health therapists can help adolescents learn this very important skill of chunking and breaking assignments down. 

Teens can also engage in CBT therapy online and learn a variety of skills that can help manage academic stress. These skills would include:

  • Tracking mood and behaviours to better understand when anxiety levels are high
  • Understanding how our thoughts can influence our behaviours and emotions
  • Creating distance from our thoughts, using skills such as cognitive reframing and the tool of the thought record
  • Learning about thinking traps and how those can impact teen’s moods, thoughts and behaviours 

It is also important to talk about the role of parents and educators when it comes to adolescence and academic pressure. What can parents or teachers do? A few of the ways in which educators and parents can help adolescents include:

  • Providing mental health support through education for both parents and students. Talking about mental health can help to destigmatize it and allow teens to speak to their teachers and parents when they are not doing well
  • Providing adolescents with wellness spaces for breaks throughout the day. These spaces can be used for studying quietly or simply taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the classroom 
  • Teachers can provide formative relationships to adolescents during their development. Teachers can always check in on students should they notice significant changes in their mood and behaviour. 
  • Some students might benefit from writing tests in a quiet space if they experience significant test anxiety or difficulties with focus and attention. This can be discussed with the teen as well as with any mental health therapists involved in their care

Academic stress is a very significant issue for adolescents and youth. It can contribute to elevated stress and mental health issues. However, through mental health therapy and school support, individuals can be better supported throughout their academic journey. 

Peer Issues and Social Anxiety During Adolescence 

Peer pressure can certainly emerge throughout adolescence. Mental health therapy can provide teens with the skills they need to set boundaries and be able to say “no” when they are feeling uncomfortable. Learning healthy assertiveness skills can also be an important focus during online therapy sessions. 

adolescent counseling

However, adolescents may also experience symptoms of social anxiety that are different from grappling with peer pressure. If your teen is experiencing excessive fear of judgement from others to the point where they are avoiding social situations, they might be experiencing social anxiety. If you notice your teen is avoiding different social situations and they speak about high levels of anxiety in these situations, it would be very beneficial to reach out to a professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, to better understand what they are experiencing. 

Social anxiety treatment can be highly beneficial when this happens. CBT and ACT interventions are often used during social anxiety treatment. Teens will learn a variety of skills during this type of anxiety treatment, including:

  • Learning to decrease avoidance in social situations is a graduated manner, using exposure therapy
  • Recognize the role of anxiety and how to better manage and tolerate it during times of anxiety
  • Focus on values and what is important to you, as opposed to avoidance which can increase anxiety levels in the long run
  • Engage in social situations and pay attention to the experience of them and how one is able to make space for difficult thoughts and feelings during anxiety-provoking situations

Working with a therapist during social anxiety treatment can be very effective. Social anxiety can be extremely disruptive and it is important to provide teens and adolescents with skills they can use to decrease their avoidance and engage in more social interactions. 

Family Dynamics and Adolescent Mental Health

Family dynamics are often complex and certain family stressors can heighten emotions and challenges during adolescence. For example, parental stress and divorce can have a negative impact on teens. Of course, these types of family situations are not preventable and are not anyone’s fault. Nevertheless, family therapy may play an important role in helping teens navigate the emotions and reactions they might experience during times of familial stress. Parents may also benefit by speaking with a therapist to allow more positive interactions to take place within the family environment, even during times of stress and separation. 

Parents may also have difficulty navigating their teens’ emotions and feel at a loss to be able to help them. Parents also have their own emotional baggage and might find they are bringing these stressors into the relationship with their teens. For all these reasons, parent coaching can also be highly advantageous to help navigate challenging family dynamics and allow for much more positive relationships amongst the entire family. 

It is always important to include family members during teen online counselling, with the consent of the adolescent of course. This allows for parents to learn important updates about how their teen is doing. It also allows mental health therapists to deliver important skills to parents that they can use in between therapy sessions. 

Conclusion: How to Begin Adolescent Counseling

We hope this blog provided you with a lot of helpful information regarding the benefits of adolescent counseling! It can be extremely helpful given the complexity of adolescent development and all the different changes that are taking place. 

In summary:

  • Adolescent counseling is beneficial for a number of different concerns and presentations
  • Teachers and educators can help support adolescents during this turbulent time
  • Parental involvement in adolescent counseling can be highly beneficial and may take the form of parent coaching as needed

Now that you know how beneficial adolescent counseling can be, you might be wondering where you can find it! Does FTPS provide online adolescent counseling near me? We certainly do! We provide online therapy sessions for adolescents across Canada, specifically in Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and New Brunswick. We work with youth and teens who are experiencing a variety of issues, including OCD, anxiety, depression and trauma-related symptoms. 

Contact us and learn more about our team as well as our CBT offerings for OCD therapy for adults and teens. We look forward to hearing from you!

References
https://developingadolescent.semel.ucla.edu/core-science-of-adolescence/decision-making-emotional-regulation
https://childmind.org/article/can-help-kids-self-regulation/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032723008510
https://acentral.education/accommodations/chunking
https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/thinking-traps/

DISCLAIMER: This content is meant for informational and educational purposes only. Only a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist can diagnose a mental health disorder. The content of this website is not meant to be a substitute for therapy. Visiting this website should not be considered to be equivalent to a relationship with FTPS. Mental health concerns should only be discussed in the context of providing professional services after the consent process has been completed with a qualified FTPS associate outside of our website.