Adolescent Issues

GROWING UP IN THE 21st CENTURY

Teenagers face many of the same psychological challenges that commonly affect adults, plus a whole set of physiological stressors that are unique to that stage of development, plus a whole set of cultural & social stressors that, if we’re being honest, would be pretty unimaginable to anyone over the age of 25. Some elements of adolescence are biologically programmed: novelty-seeking, risk-taking, and heightened social sensitivity, among others. Some realities of teenage life are culturally inescapable - the prevalence of pop culture, social media, and the dawning reality that the path into adulthood may not be as clear as we would like.

Suffice it to say that adolescence is a complicated time.

 

For parents of teenagers, the combination of concern and frustration can be confusing and exhausting. Knowing when to intervene and offer guidance or create boundaries, and when to back off and allow your teenager to find his or her own way is often guesswork. There is no formula, and the guidelines that make sense today may be outdated tomorrow.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY TEENAGER NEEDS HELP?

 

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether the challenges we face are a normal phase that will pass, or a sign of something deeper that needs skilled attention. The National Institute of Mental Health provides a good guideline: If any of these signs or symptoms begin to disrupt your teenager’s daily activities, or last longer than a week or two, you may want to seek professional support.

  • Often feels anxious or worried

  • Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time

  • Has frequent stomachaches or headaches with no physical explanation

  • Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time

  • Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares

  • Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy

  • Avoids spending time with friends

  • Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline

  • Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively

  • Has low or no energy

  • Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity

  • Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin

  • Engages in risky, destructive behavior

  • Harms self or others

  • Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs

  • Has thoughts of suicide

  • Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices

HOW CAN PSYCHOTHERAPY HELP?

The support we offer teenagers and parents is based on many thousands of hours of interactions with many hundreds of individual teenagers and their families. Our moment-to-moment approach is slightly different with each client, but the principles we draw from are consistent:

 

Establishing Connection: Our first priority is to establish a caring, honest, and supportive relationship. Many teenagers find that relating to an adult who is neither a teacher or a family member is itself enlightening.

 

Reducing Isolation: Another primary goal is to reduce anxiety and normalize the challenges faced by my clients. One of the most painful experiences for any human is the sense of isolation, and the neurological realities of adolescence amplify this pain in teenagers.

 

Psychoeducation and Emotional Literacy: We work hard to give teenagers a good sense of the”why” of their challenges. Understanding how our minds contribute to our suffering gives us real power in minimizing that pain. Developing a solid vocabulary and conceptual map for how our body and mind interact with each other and the environment is, in our opinion, among the most important services we can offer.

 

Tools and Training: We draw from cognitive-behavioral therapy, attachment theory, evolutionary neuroscience, and meditation techniques to offer teenagers clear and testable methods for clarifying their experience and navigating towards health and happiness.

 

WHAT SPECIFIC PROBLEMS DO YOU WORK WITH?

 

Our areas of clinical interest and training include:

 

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • ADD/ADHD

  • Academic underachievement

  • Self-esteem

  • Emotional withdrawal

  • Emotional regulation

  • Family turbulence

  • Moodiness

  • Peer relationships

  • Existential issues

LET'S WORK TOGETHER

We've supported families and teenagers in various settings, and have helped hundreds of teens and families through a wide range of challenges. We would love to meet you and discuss how we might be of help in your situation.

CONTACT US TODAY TO GET STARTED!

Clear Springs Counseling

2525 Wallingwood 
Building 9, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78746