5 Signs your Teen Needs Counseling

If you're a human, there will come a time when you will need to seek the advice and counsel of another human.  Our brains are wired for connectivity and social support.  With this information in mind, let's look at five signs that your teenager might need to go to counseling.

1)  Isolation

If your once bright, happy child has turned into a reclusive teenager who's locked in his or her bedroom with the phone glued to their eye balls like the face huger from Aliens, then they need counseling.  Emotional distress can cause us to turn inward and shut down.  Emotional distress is... distressing (obviously).  No one wants to feel distress.  Youtube hurts less.  Counseling helps the teenager grapple with their emotional distress and teaches them the skills needed to regulate that distress. 

2)  Divorce

Divorce happens for a reason.  Usually the child saw the reasons leading up to the divorce.  They may have witnessed physical abuse, emotional abuse, or simply lost a connection with a parent that they had previous to the divorce.  There may be some anger at one or both parents for abandoning the family.  Counseling begins to help the child accept their situation.  We learn to control what we can control and release what is uncontrollable. 

3)  Impulsive

Impulsive teenagers may be struggling with a variety of issues outside of simply hormones.  Hormones are hard enough, but if we add to the mix a feeling of distrust or discomfort at school or at home, we risk the child's ability to see consequences ahead of actions.  They may also be struggling with ADHD or other behavioral issues that are treated in counseling. 

4) Trauma/Stress

There is too much research available for anyone to deny that trauma changes how the brain operates.  To get that brain back to it's healthy self, we need counseling.  The connection between the therapist and the child can greatly heal and teach the child to overcome the physical symptoms of trauma.  The same applies to stress.  Although your teenager may not have been involved in a school shooting, you know darn well that the child has heard about them.  They can bury that anxiety without someone to unload that stress on.  Most teenagers don't want to add more stress to their parents, so they don't talk about the things that bother them as much as they would with a therapist. 

5) They've never been to counseling. 

If your teenager is about to be an adult, do yourself and the next generation a favor.  Take that kid to counseling at least once, even if it's for something silly like a disagreement between the two of you.  This models to the teen that being an adult means asking others for help.  We all need that.  We all need to be accountable to someone.  We all need to feel like we belong to SOMETHING, and if that teenager doesn't belong to something positive, they'll find something negative to belong to. 

AUTHOR - Rachel Terry is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas.  She has worked with many individuals and families in crisis.  She's passionate about educating the community about veteran's issues, because her husband is a combat veteran. Rachel is the owner and operator of The Hope Place Counseling Services, PLLC