Therapy for Teens: What to Expect

Posted on April 23, 2014

If you are going to see a therapist, the following Q&As can give you some insight into what to expect. Keep in mind that many teens are in therapy today, trying to gain greater insight into the way they think, act and react.

Q. Am I “Crazy” If I Go to Therapy?

A. Having therapy does not mean you are crazy! At least 1 in 5 teens (20%) have mental health issues. Doctors and therapists treat mental health problems just like any medical problem. For instance, if you break your leg, you go to an orthopedic doctor. If you have an earache, you see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. If you are depressed, anxious, or need someone to talk to, you go to a therapist.

Q. What Is Mental Health?

A. Mental health includes how you act, feel, and think, in different situations. Teens have mental health problems when their actions, feelings, or thoughts regularly create obstacles, in their lives. Everybody has times when they think or feel something that they don’t like. Other times, people do things that other people don’t like. Both of these situations are normal. But when the unwelcome thoughts, feelings, or actions regularly create problems, there may be a mental health problem. Counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists are people who help others with mental health problems.

Q. Why Do Teens Have Mental Health Problems?

A. Mental health problems can be caused by many different things. Some common causes include:

  • Medical conditions – Some medical conditions can make you think, feel, or act unnaturally. If you go to a doctor or psychiatrist for a mental health problem, they will first check whether a medical condition could be causing the problem.
  • Violence – When something bad happens to a person, or they see something bad happen, they can develop a mental health problem.
  • Stress – Everybody gets stressed out. Some stress can be helpful (like motivating you to study for a test). But too much stress can cause problems.
  • Losing a relationship – If someone close to you dies, moves away, or doesn’t want to be friends anymore, it is natural to feel sad or lonely. Usually these feelings improve over time. But sometimes they worsen, or affect other parts of your life.

Q. Will I Feel Uncomfortable Talking About My Problems?

A. It is normal to feel awkward talking about emotional things. The awkward feeling means that you are trying something new. As you get used to meeting, with your therapist or group, you should get more secure.

Q. What If I Don’t Like My Therapist?

A. Having a good relationship with your therapist is one of the most important ingredients, of therapy. Sometimes people just do not get along well, with a therapist, and you should know in the first session or two. If you don’t like your therapist, it is OK to try a different one.

Some things to keep in mind about therapy include:

  • The therapist won’t solve your problems. 
  • Therapy is helpful if you work hard with the therapist, if you don’t work at solving the problem, the therapy won’t be beneficial.
  • The therapist supports you, and suggests helpful ways to work on problems.  

Adapted from WebMD

Written by:  Rebecca Pavilk-Heger, LMHC, LCAC

Rebecca Pavlik-Heger is a Mental Health Counselor in Indianapolis specializing in Teen Issues and Career Counseling.

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==