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Why You Should Consider Therapy

Table of Contents

Summary

Being a teenager can be hard at times. A mental health professional such as a therapist, counselor, psychologist, or social worker can help by giving you a safe space to talk about your problems, teach you coping mechanisms, and help you manage your emotions better.

Being a teenager can be hard at times. Your schoolwork is getting harder, you may have trouble with your friendships or maybe you’re new in town and you’re having difficulty adjusting. Either way, a licensed therapist, whether it’s a psychologist, a social worker, or a marriage and family therapist can help by giving you a safe space to talk about your problems, teach you coping mechanisms, and help you manage your emotions better.

When Should You Consider Therapy?

It’s normal to feel anxious before a test or to feel sad when your best friend moves away, but once your emotions start to affect your daily life, such as maintaining good hygiene, you have trouble focusing in class, your grades start slipping or you feel sad or stressed out longer than usual, you should ask your parents if they can take you to see a therapist.

Remember, your decision to go to therapy means that you understand how important your mental health is. The fact that you have recognized that you may need to go to therapy is a sign that you are growing up and are taking responsibility for your own health.

Below is a list of reasons people go to therapy: 

What to Expect During Your First Therapy Session

Going to see a therapist for the first time can be stressful in itself, but we want to eliminate that anxiety by giving you an overview of what you can expect from your first therapy session.

1. Be prepared to do most of the talking

This is the first time the therapist is meeting you, so they will ask you questions to get to know you better, get a better understanding of why you’re seeking therapy in the first place, and how they can help you.

The therapist will ask you questions in the following areas:

  • Your childhood
  • Family life: your relationships with your parents, siblings, close family members
  • Your schoolwork, extracurricular activities
  • Any recent events that have affected your current emotions

2. See if they are the right therapist for you

If you’re going for a certain medical condition, find a therapist who specializes in your condition. Let’s say you’re seeking a therapist to help you with your anxiety. Ask them how many years of experience they have with treating patients with anxiety and whether or not they feel that they can help you with your own anxiety. 

This is also your chance to see if you feel comfortable with the therapist. Part of therapy is having conversations that can be uncomfortable. Make sure you find someone you feel comfortable confiding in and sharing information that can be difficult for you to talk about. Therapy should be a safe space where you feel you can open up to your therapist and talk about whatever is on your mind. You may need to share details of your life that you haven’t shared with anyone else, so you want to find a therapist with who you feel safe having these conversations and trust. 

3. You and the therapist will determine what your goals are 

Together, you and the therapist will decide what your goals are with therapy. By the end of the session, the therapist will give you their initial thoughts on how you can benefit from therapy and provide you with a more individualized treatment plan. The plan will include skills that they will teach you, such as mindfulness, deep breathing techniques, changing thought patterns, etc. They might also have exercises for you to do in between your sessions in the form of worksheets or they may have you start journaling. They’ll also recommend how often your sessions should be, the length of your sessions and ask if you feel this is manageable for you. Ultimately, you have to be the one putting in the work. Attending sessions is only part of therapy, you have to use the skills and techniques that you learn in therapy to ensure that you meet the goals you and your therapist have set.

Benefits of Therapy

Therapy has been shown to improve a person’s emotional and mental well-being along with the other benefits listed below.

  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms and how to apply them
  • Empower yourself by setting goals and creating steps to achieve them 
  • Be more emotionally resilient 
  • Gain a better understanding of yourself through self-reflection and self-awareness
  • Recognize harmful behaviors and thoughts 

In-Person vs. Online Sessions 

With the pandemic, many therapists have transitioned from in-person sessions to either phone or video sessions. Online sessions allow you to schedule your appointment with the therapist from anywhere or from a location you feel most comfortable. Having sessions from your room or another room in your house where you can reach for a coping object, such as your pet or blanket can make it easier for you to share difficult information or emotions with the therapist. You may also have the option to text your therapist anytime you feel that you need to talk to them in between sessions. You can also check out our previous blog on Online Counseling for a list of the best online counseling and therapy services we found. 

While online sessions are a good alternative, they lack certain aspects of in-person therapy that simply cannot be replicated with online sessions. Without the intimacy of face-to-face interaction, you will have a harder time forming a therapeutic relationship and you may not feel as connected to the therapist. The therapist cannot see any changes in your body language or a shift in the tone of your voice when switching to more difficult topics. Without these pieces, you are unlikely to reap all the benefits that therapy has to offer. 

Now that you have a better idea of whether therapy is for you and what to expect from your first session, we want you to know that there is no right or wrong way to approach therapy. As long as you’re dedicated to the goals you and your therapist have set, you will see the difference therapy makes in your life. 

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