When Should a Teenager See a Professional Therapist

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It can be hard to tell what is going on with your teenager sometimes, as there is often a lot going on in their life, and they have a lot of physical and emotional changes to deal with. However, if it seems like your teen needs some help, and their problems are more than just mood swings, then admitting it to yourself is one of the first steps. No matter how much you want to help them, parents can’t solve all their issues. There are some circumstances where teenagers need to have professional therapy or an intervention. 

According to www.isaiahcounselingandwellness.com, teen therapy can be required for a whole range of reasons. There may be some behavioral problems that need to be dealt with, as well as mental health concerns, emotional issues, stress, anxiety, addiction, and other traumatic experiences. When it comes to teen counseling, the longer that you wait to get help, then the worse the problems can become. That is why it is important to not put it off and to seek some advice and help for them as soon as you are aware of there being concerns. But when should you get them help and what are some of the warning signs that you should look out for, that shows that your teenager is in need?

Teenager Behavior

Some of the things that your teen will do can be classed as ‘normal’ teenager behavior. If you can see that they are generally happy with life, they have friends, they talk to you about life and feelings, and their work and school life are going fine, then the chances are that they are just going through life and living life as a regular teenager. However, what happens is when this changes, especially suddenly, or there are some other concerns.

That is when you should seek advice from a professional therapist. It may just be to speak to a professional for peace of mind, and actually, everything is fine for your teen. It could be that they do need to have some regular counseling sessions as there are some underlying issues. 

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Warning signs that professional help is needed

There are some classic signs of teen behavior that are an indicator of trauma or other problems. They can indicate that your teen is in danger, whether from themselves or from others, so you shouldn’t delay in seeking advice. Don’t just presume that the problems will go away and that they’ll ‘be fine soon.’ Here are some of the warning signs to look out for:

  • Signs and indicators of depression, such as lack of motivation, no energy, sleeping a lot, weight gain or weight loss, and no enjoyment from their usual activities. Any mention of hurting themselves or feeling suicidal should be an immediate referral.
  • If they have run away or not let you know where they are going to be. This can be very hard to live through, but when they return, it should be addressed with a professional.
  • You find out that they are taking part in some illegal activity, such as taking drugs or participating in vandalism. Often these are cries for help as they don’t know how to express themselves in other ways.
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  • Starting to fail at school can be a sign to look out for, especially if they were more enthusiastic about school in the past. It is worth speaking to the school about this too, but if there is failing in school along with other warning signs, then seeking teen counseling is a must. 
  • If a teenager has been abused then they can start to act out in a sexualized manner as a result; this is a big warning sign, especially if it is not usually something they would do or doesn’t reflect their usual personality.
  • Any signs of self-harming or cutting themselves.
  • Look out for changes within their friend group. If they start to hang out with a new group of friends and their behavior soon changes, then this is worth a conversation.
  • Overeating, undereating, or heading to the bathroom after a meal is a sign that they could have a mental health disorder or an eating disorder, which can both be helped through teen therapy.
  • Violent behavior, especially if the scenario doesn’t warrant this kind of anger or behavior.
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The main thing to look out for are any big changes with their mood and personality, that aren’t just occasional due to growing and hormones. Seeking advice from a trained therapist can either offer you some peace of mind that all with your teenager is fine, or they will be able to provide you with guidance about what is needed next. When it comes to changes with your teen, it is best to err on the side of caution and seek advice when you are in any doubt.

What should you do when you think that your teen needs therapy?

If you have noticed some of the warning signs in your teenager and you believe that you need to get help for your teenager, then it might be a good idea to speak with your family doctor who knows your teenager’s medical history. In general, a doctor can advise some resources that could be useful to you both, as well as recommend therapists. Of course, you can look into someone local to you, who has either been recommended or who you have found good reviews of, and refer yourselves to them instead. This can be a simple process and it just starts with making a phone call. 

It can be difficult to come to the realization that your teen needs help; as a parent, you will often blame yourself. It is quite normal to have these kinds of thoughts and to have a whole range of emotions, when you are thinking about your teen and getting them some help. This shouldn’t hold you back, though. With the right help, your teen will be able to get back on track and start living life to the fullest and really thriving, rather than barely surviving.