Teenage Therapy

“Investing in your child’s mental health is investing in their future”

Providing Assistance to Young People in the Development of Their Skills and Confidence

The teenage years are a critical period of development characterized by rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. Both teenage girls and boys face a myriad of challenges as they navigate their journey to adulthood. Adolescence is a time of exploration, identity formation, and increased independence. Teenagers undergo profound hormonal shifts, experience heightened peer influence, encounter academic pressures, and grapple with their emerging sexuality. Acknowledging these distinctive aspects of the teenage years is crucial for an effective therapeutic approach.

Understanding the Adolescent Experience

Common Challenges Faced by Teenage Girls and Boys
As a psychologist working with teenagers, Cristine sees teenage girls and boys who face a wide range of challenges. Some of the most prevalent concerns which hinder a teenager’s emotional well-being include:

Teenage Psychology

Common Issues in Teenagers


Anxiety in teenagers refers to a common mental health condition characterized by feelings of worry, fear, and nervousness that can significantly affect their daily life and well-being. It is normal for teenagers to experience occasional stress and anxiety as they face various challenges during adolescence, but when these feelings become excessive, persistent, and start interfering with their ability to function, it may indicate an anxiety disorder. If left untreated, anxiety can hurt their academic performance, social life, and overall mental health.

Symptoms of anxiety in teenagers can vary and may include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear about everyday situations.
  • Irritability or restlessness.
  • Difficulty concentrating and sleeping.
  • Avoidance of certain situations or activities.
  • Physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or muscle tension.
  • Panic attacks, characterized by sudden and intense periods of fear or discomfort.

Some common factors that can contribute to anxiety in teenagers include:

  1. Academic pressures: The pressure to perform well in school, excel in exams, and meet expectations can lead to academic anxiety.
  2. Social challenges: Teenagers often face social pressures, such as fitting in, making friends, or dealing with peer rejection, which can trigger social anxiety.
  3. Family dynamics: Family conflicts, dysfunctional relationships, or major life changes at home can contribute to anxiety in teenagers.
  4. Body image concerns: Adolescence is a time when teenagers become increasingly aware of their bodies, and body image issues can lead to anxiety.
  5. Future uncertainty: The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be daunting, and uncertainties about the future, such as career choices or university applications, can provoke anxiety.
  6. Technology and social media: Constant exposure to social media and digital devices can lead to anxiety, especially due to cyber bullying, unrealistic comparisons, and the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Depression in teenagers, also known as adolescent depression, is a serious mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest or pleasure in activities. It affects a significant number of teenagers worldwide and can have a profound impact on their emotional, social, and academic well-being.

Teenagers with depression may experience a range of symptoms, such as low mood, irritability, withdrawal from friends and family, changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or excessive sleeping), changes in appetite or weight, difficulty concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Untreated depression can significantly affect a teenager’s academic performance, relationships, and overall quality of life. It may lead to problems with substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Identifying and addressing depression early is essential to prevent these negative outcomes.

Self-esteem difficulties

Self-esteem refers to an individual’s overall evaluation of their self-worth and personal value. It is how a person perceives themselves and how they believe others view them. Healthy self-esteem is essential for emotional well-being and is influenced by various factors, including upbringing, experiences, achievements, and social interactions.

Teenagers, in particular, are susceptible to self-esteem issues due to the challenges they face during this developmental stage. They undergo significant physical, emotional, and social changes, often seeking peer validation and acceptance. If teenagers perceive themselves negatively or feel inadequate, it can lead to low self-esteem.

Self-harm behaviours

Self-harm is a concerning behaviour often associated with low self-esteem and psychological distress in teenagers. Self-harm refers to deliberate acts of physical harm inflicted upon oneself without suicidal intent. Common self-harming behaviours include cutting, burning, or hitting oneself as a way to cope with emotional pain or feelings of emptiness.

Psychologically, self-harm in teenagers can serve as a maladaptive coping mechanism for dealing with overwhelming emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, or numbness. It may temporarily provide a sense of control or relief from emotional turmoil. Additionally, some teenagers may engage in self-harm as a means to communicate their inner struggles or seek attention and support. It’s essential to understand that self-harm is a sign of deeper emotional distress and should not be ignored.

Body Image and Eating Disorders

Both teenage girls and boys grapple with body image concerns, influenced by societal pressures and media ideals. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, require sensitive and specialized therapeutic interventions to promote a healthy body image and a balanced relationship with food.

Therapeutic Approaches for Teenagers

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT):

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a specialized form of cognitive-behavioural therapy that was initially developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, it has since been adapted and proven to be highly effective for various populations, including teenagers. DBT is an excellent therapeutic approach for teenagers because it equips them with essential skills to manage their emotions, tolerate distress, build healthier relationships, and develop a stronger sense of self. DBT consists of 4 modules:

  • Mindfulness: mindfulness skills are becoming crucial in today’s world. Mindfulness is being in the present moment with an awareness of one’s self and the world. Scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness has a positive effect on emotion regulation, learning, memory and responses to stress.
  • Distress tolerance: the distress tolerance module is divided into two sets of skills (1) Crisis Survival and (2) Accepting Reality skills. Crisis survival skills teach adolescents how to cope with difficult situations without turning to harmful coping strategies like self-injury. Accepting reality skills help teenagers accept what cannot be changed so the focus can be on being more effective in any given situation.
  • Emotion Regulation: adolescence can be an emotionally turbulent time, and teenagers often struggle with managing intense emotions. This section teaches teenagers the skills to identify, understand, and regulate their emotions effectively. By learning to cope with emotions healthily, teens can reduce impulsive behaviours and make better decisions.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: this module teaches communication and relationship skills. This helps teenagers with being assertive, build and maintain healthy relationships and increase self-respect in relationships.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that helps teenagers identify and modify negative thought patterns, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and improve problem-solving skills. CBT equips teenagers with the tools to manage emotional challenges and make positive behavioural changes.

Teenage Therapy

Therapy can help your teen grow stronger, happier and healthier.