Adolescents require a therapist that is familiar with their social, emotional and cognitive developmental stages. The stages of adolescence include early adolescence from age 10 to 14, mid-adolescence from age 15 to 17, and late adolescence from age 18 to 24. Each stage can bring unique challenges for the teen as they formulate their identity and independence while navigating their social environment. During this transitional time, teens will be making choices and realizations regarding friendships, academics, sexuality, gender, identity, drugs, and alcohol.
A therapeutic relationship allows the teen to have their own space to navigate these changes along with their thoughts and feelings while also improving communication between teen and parents. When a teen feels heard and understood they become more self-aware, develop higher self-esteem and experience improved relationships.
What can a teen expect in a counseling environment? Depending on the age, preferences and interest of each person, a therapist working with teens will spend time to get to know their client through conversation and activities. It is common to spend time in a session playing a game, painting/drawing or participating in a focused activity that facilitates awareness and understanding of the client and his or her experiences.