What parents should know about youth counseling

What is youth counseling?

Youth counseling is a treatment method specifically for adolescents. Through consultation, young people participate in talk therapy with mental health experts in a safe environment, with the goal of better understanding and expressing their feelings, discovering and solving problems, and establishing a healthy coping mechanism. Consultation can take the form of one-on-one talk therapy or group therapy.

Having your teen talk to a skilled therapist can support and help them through this critical period of their lives.

When do teenagers need counseling?

Treatment can support your teen in many ways, such as self-discovery, stress, life events, or mental health issues. Treatment can also be used to prevent minor problems from becoming problems in the future.

Sometimes, even just a few treatments can have a major impact on your child’s overall health. Common reasons and conditions for teenagers to participate in counseling include:

What are the types of youth counseling?

There are many different types of youth counseling services. Depending on the problem, the therapist may recommend a combination. Common types of treatments used for adolescents include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Usually used for adolescents suffering from anxiety, depression or trauma, a therapist who specializes in CBT will help your adolescent identify harmful thinking patterns and replace them with more positive thinking patterns.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT will help your youth take responsibility and find healthier ways to deal with conflicts and strong emotions. DBT is commonly used for adolescents who self-harm, have suicidal tendencies, and/or have borderline personality disorder (BPD).
  • Family therapy: Family therapy involves one or more family members, including parents, grandparents, and siblings. The goal of this treatment is to improve communication and support between family members.
  • Group therapy: In group therapy, multiple patients are led by a therapist. This method can improve your teen’s social skills and help them understand how other teens are constructively coping with mental health issues.
  • Interpersonal Relationship Therapy (IPT): Usually used for patients with depression, IPT focuses on a person’s interpersonal relationship, solving interpersonal relationship problems and how interpersonal relationship events affect emotions.
  • Psycho-based therapy (MBT): MBT helps children and adolescents who are struggling for their identity and identity.
  • Supportive therapy: Supportive therapy helps young people to solve and cope with problems in a healthy way, and improve their self-esteem.

Factors in choosing a therapist

There are a variety of therapists working with young people, so it is helpful to know how to find the most suitable treatment. The following are important considerations when choosing a therapist.

Experience of working with young people

Choose a therapist who has the expertise and experience to work with young people. Teenagers are unique; the problems they encounter and the way they deal with them vary according to their age group.

Search online for adolescent therapists in your area and check their website carefully for information about how they work with adolescents and details about their practice. If possible, refer to a specific therapist recommended by another healthcare professional you trust.

Proper credentials

In most cases, the therapist should obtain permission. There are exceptions, such as trained religious or drug consultants. Note, however, that insurance companies usually only pay for services provided by licensed mental health professionals.

treatment method

Consider the treatment methods and training of the therapist. There are many different ways to counsel young people. Be familiar with the different methods and make choices based on the problem your child is trying to solve.

Personality and harmony

Experience and qualifications are important, but usually the personality of the therapist and the therapeutic relationship between the adolescent and the therapist are the most important factors. This kind of relationship is ultimately the most critical factor for the therapist to successfully provide help to young people.

When choosing a therapist, ask yourself which person is most likely to connect with your child. Pay close attention to your instincts when making decisions.

Think about the specific qualities your child might need a therapist:

  • May they respond best to direct and focused people, or to more educated and supportive people?
  • Do you prefer male or female therapists?
  • Will they work better with young and energetic people, or will they benefit from experienced older therapists?

Questions to ask potential therapists

Interview potential therapists via email, phone or face-to-face meetings. Some therapists will conduct initial consultations for free or at a discounted price so that you can meet with them and answer your questions.

Asking the following questions will provide important information and give you a better understanding of how the therapist will work with your youth to help promote positive change:

  • What is your experience with the specific problem my child is trying to solve?
  • How long have you practiced?
  • Describe how you will work with my child.
  • Will other family members participate in the treatment process?
  • What license do you have, is it up to date?
  • How do you establish treatment goals and measure progress?
  • Are you a member of a professional organization?
  • Can you explain the treatment you use?

After getting the answers to these questions, consider the extent to which the therapist describes their methods and how they feel when doing so. Ask yourself:

  • The therapist seems to know what they are talking about?
  • Do they seem to have real sympathy for teenagers?
  • Are they patient to answer your questions?
  • How do you feel when talking to them?

How to prepare

Your child may be ready to meet with the therapist, or they may resist the idea of ​​treatment. Either way, trying to help them see treatment is a collaborative effort. You can show them the therapist’s website first, explaining the therapist’s work and how they can help your child.

You can say to your child: “I know you have been fighting anxiety. This therapist has helped others find useful ways to cope.” Explain to your child that the therapist will ask them about school, friends, Family and other issues, these issues will give the therapist a better understanding of their lives.

If your child is nervous about receiving treatment, this is normal, especially when they are receiving treatment for the first time.

Reassure them that they don’t have to share anything that makes them uncomfortable. If they are not ready to talk about something, they have no need-the therapist should not force them.

Make sure your child knows that you can say “I don’t know” or “I don’t want to answer that.” Understanding their power in a therapeutic relationship may help relax your teen before the first treatment. It is important that they feel safe and supported throughout the meeting. Over time, the goal is to make them more comfortable with this process. But there is no need to urge them.

Some therapists want to conduct an initial evaluation before prescribing long-term care. It is best to talk to the therapist first and ask them for advice on how to prepare for you and your child. For example, your therapist may ask to see transcripts, teacher notes, or other health care records.

Expected result and how long it will take

You, your child, and the therapist will work together to set treatment goals so that your child’s progress can be measured and the results of treatment can be tracked. How long it takes your child to make progress depends on their condition.

For example, suppose your child has an eating disorder. One of their treatment goals may be to use healthy coping mechanisms (such as deep breathing or keeping a diary) when they feel triggered by an eating disorder.

Or maybe your child is undergoing treatment to learn anger management strategies. Their progress can be measured by their behavior. Can they use the tools they have learned in treatment to calm themselves down instead of resorting to physical or verbal aggression?

Psychotherapy usually lasts 12 to 20 times a week. But many patients and therapists prefer to continue treatment for a longer period of time.

Some personality disorders or chronic diseases require longer treatment time. The length of time your child receives treatment will also depend on their personal preferences. Some people prefer to receive treatment to solve a specific problem and move on, while others benefit from a more consistent examination for a longer period of time.

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Ideally, your child needs to be involved in this process, even if you are the one who encourages them to try treatment. In most cases, it is effective for parents to do referral and preliminary screening. Then, provide this information to your child and let them make the final decision.

If after several treatments, the treatment relationship does not seem to work, it may be necessary to choose a new person. Many therapists are happy to refer you to another provider who may be more suitable for your child.