10 Signs Your Teen May Need Psychotherapy
- December 22, 2015
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Psychotherapy has a reputation for being the ‘talking’ cure for adult patients because it is focused around open dialogue and communication between a psychotherapist and the patient. While many adults have seen much success in this method of therapy, did you know it can be applied to adolescents as well? In fact, psychoanalytic treatment can be extremely beneficial to adolescents and it can help prevent serious and/or long-term issues in the future.
With that said, an increasing number of adolescents are facing psychological dilemmas and if parents can identify the early warning signs, they can take appropriate steps to get them the help they need. Stuart MacFarlane, a psychotherapist, has compiled the top 10 signs that may exhibit the need of psychotherapy.
Sign #1: Concern from school. Generally speaking, the staff at your teen’s school will alert parents of something that may be of concern. A guidance counselor or social worker may have observed behavioral or emotional distress from your teen and that may be good enough reason to seek treatment options.
Sign #2: Change in academic performance. Another indicator of emotional or behavioral distress may be a change in your teen’s academic performance because it can affect their ability to focus on schoolwork. If your teen is starting to struggle in class and teachers make you aware, their difficulties may merit an initial psychological assessment for suitability for psychotherapy.
Sign #3: Skipping school. Parents need to ensure their teen is going to school on a regular basis and if your teen is skipping classes or the entire school day, something may be going on. Sometimes delinquent behavior can serve as an additional indicator that they are struggling with something internally.
Sign #4: Increase in arguments. It’s like a fact of life that teenagers may argue at home with their parents, however, if it seems as though the arguments are escalating and happening on a more frequent basis, particularly if everyone keeps getting stuck in arguments about the same things over and over. Here, family therapy might be an option, if not just the teen.
Sign #5: Drug and/or alcohol abuse. Both adults and adolescents may turn to drugs or alcohol as a method of coping with emotional difficulties as a way to temporarily relieve stress, anxiety or depression. If your teen is abusing any kind of substance, it should raise a red flag about their emotional state.
Sign #6: Change in family dynamic. Martial disputes that result in divorce or separation can take a heavy toll on the psychological health of your child. Any time parents’ divorce, the child can go through extreme emotions that they may find not just confusing but scary. Sometimes they may feel as though they have to pick a side. Psychotherapy can help them cope with the situation and may reduce the negative impact from the disruption of their family dynamic.
Sign #7: Grief from death in family. Regardless of age, anyone will suffer from grief when they lose a loved one. If your teen is having a hard time coping, a psychotherapist can serve as a bereavement counselor to help them through the difficult time.
Sign #8: Self-injury. If your teen is inflicting injury on themselves, you need to take immediate action because it is a very apparent sign of emotional distress. It may be a scary situation to come across, but if they have injuries marked on their bodies, you need to act fast by getting in touch with a psychotherapist right away.
Sign #9: Isolation & withdrawal from social events. It’s normal for some teens to be shy and timid in social situations, but if you notice that your child is isolating themselves and becoming more distant from everyday life, they could be dealing with depression. On top of that, those who are depressed are less likely to seek help from others, which makes it very important to know the symptoms of depression.
Sign #10: Outbursts & aggression. If your teen is becoming more aggressive and getting into physical fights, damaging things and generally being more hostile, psychotherapy is needed. Violent behavior is a clear indicator of psychological issues that are beyond your control with punishments or disapprovals.
Parents need to be vigilant when it comes to the mental health of their children and the sooner you can identify the signs and get appropriate help and support, the better.