Have you noticed lately that it can be hard to talk to your parents about certain things? Do you feel stressed out about school or friend drama? Maybe you already know that a therapist can be an objective adult to help ease the stress of whatever you’re going through. Or maybe your parents or school counselor suggested you talk to someone. You might think this sounds like a good idea, or you might feel uncomfortable and like you don’t know what to expect.
This page is meant to give you a little more info about what therapy is and what you can expect. Here are some questions many teens are wondering about:
What Is Therapy Anyway?
Therapy can be a place to learn more about yourself and to work out things that are stressing you out. At this stage in your life you’re figuring out what kind of adult you want to be and that can feel like a big job. Some people think you only go to therapy if there’s something wrong with you. But I think of therapy as more like a regular vacation from the stress of life. Often teenagers can feel like adults don’t listen to them. Parents and teachers have many expectations and then there’s the pressure to fit in socially. Therapy is a place where you can get a break from all of that and have an adult who is here to really listen without judging or telling you what to do. As your therapist I might also be able to teach you some new skills to help you deal with the expectations and the stress. Or maybe you just need to vent, get things off your chest, which can also feel like a big relief.
What Happens In Therapy?
When most people think of therapy they think of talking, and we can certainly talk about what is going on in your life. Sometimes I might be able to recommend articles, or videos about certain topics that could help you with something you’re going through. I also have board games, sometimes playing while we talk can help make us more relaxed if we are talking about hard topics. Some teenagers really enjoy drawing or art and we can use this in therapy to help you express what you are feeling. If you like to write we can use different writing exercises to help you work through something. I also have a sand tray which is another excellent tool for expressing your feelings, playing out different scenarios, or working through things that are just too hard to talk about.
Will you tell my parents everything we talk about?
At your first session I will explain confidentiality. This means that I am required to keep your identity and what we talk about just between us. However since your parents are still a big part of your life we may decide to invite them into the therapy sometimes to work out a particular issue or they may want updates about your progress. Most of the time we will be able to discuss together what and when to report to your parents. However, I will not be able to maintain confidentiality if I am concerned about your safety. These would be extreme situations where I’m concerned that you are being harmed, you might harm yourself or someone else. If you ever have questions or concerns about whether or not something is confidential please just ask me.
I Just Talk to My Friends About My Problems
That’s Great, I’m so glad you have supportive friends you can count on. I just want to let you know how talking to a therapist is different from talking to a friend.
- While your friends are very supportive, they are also very attached to you and are sometimes too close to the situation to see it clearly. A therapist who has nothing at stake in the situation can be objective.
- Sometimes friends think that being supportive means agreeing or commiserating with you. While this might feel good in the moment it doesn’t really help you solve your problem. A therapist can help you see things differently, come up with a creative solution, or learn a new coping skill.
- A therapist has years of training in psychology and understanding people. We also learn many different strategies to solving problems and handling emotions. It’s like having your own personal expert to help you figure out life.
Finally I want to say that I know you may often feel judged by adults in your life. A therapist is different because I’m not your parents or your teacher. It’s not my job to judge you, it’s my job to listen, be supportive, and share my knowledge when it’s helpful.