Adolescent Therapy

Being a teenager these days is tough. Hormones kick in, there’s unrelenting peer pressure and constant academic pressure to get into a successful career or just the “right college.” Almost overnight, teens become more aware of their environment; what’s happening to others around them and what everyone’s doing online. Research has long shown that this complicated mix of changes increase stress, anxiety and the risk of depression.

Teenage girls seem to be affected the most. A 2015 survey from the University of California at Los Angeles, found that twice as many teenage girls than teenage boys said they felt depressed “frequently or occasionally,” and twice as many teenage girls than boys said they were “overwhelmed by all I have to do.”

Teenagers live in a contradictory, complicated, and media-saturated world. Today’s constant online connections – via testing, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat – accentuate the constant focus on appearance and evaluations from peers. Some of my teenage clients have told me they get their “entire identity” from their phone, constantly checking the number of “tags, likes, Instagram photos and Snapchat stories.”

As Rachel Simmons, author of “Enough as She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives, states that even though this is a great time for girls to be growing up, due to all the opportunities and options available to them. However, along with the opportunities, they’ve internalized almost impossible expectations of what they feel is necessary for a fulfilling life

Be smart, get good grades, and always look terrific. Be class president, but with plenty of time for your friends. Be an athlete, but not too muscular. Being good at everything is a necessary requirement for “being good enough.”

And what is getting lost is the opportunity for young women to pursue what they enjoy, what they’re passionate about, what makes them tick. Perhaps the essential question teens face as they move from childhood to adulthood is “Who am I?” It’s important for girls to learn how to navigate a core self, a sense of who they truly are. It takes time to uncover what makes you unique, what your gifts are, how to respect and learn from your emotions and what you want to stand for in this world.

We need healthy relationships to help us do this type of identity work, but girls are finding themselves more isolated. With the pressure to always excel, they are making productivity more important than taking time for the connections and relationships they need. Studies have found that teens’ feelings of loneliness have risen steadily since 2013 and are now at an all-time high. Teens who visit social networking sites every day, but see their friends in person less frequently, are most likely to agree with the statements, “A lot of times I feel lonely,” “I often feel left out of things,” and “I often wish I had more good friends.”

If your teen is struggling with depression, isolating, feelings of hopelessness and despair, these are the issues where counseling can help. Therapy can provide a safe place for building a core sense of self, helping develop the resiliency and interpersonal skills which lay a foundation for a healthy and meaningful life.

1151 Dove Street Suite 220
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(714) 291-0793
*For text messages, please contact 949-315-1712*

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