What Type Of Therapy Is Best For Teenagers?
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What Type Of Therapy Is Best For Teenagers?

Teenagers’ mental health is a vital concern. Adolescence is a tumultuous period of self-discovery and growth, often marked by emotional highs and lows. Addressing their mental well-being through open communication, early intervention, and access to professional help is crucial. A supportive environment and destigmatizing discussions around mental health can make a significant difference in their lives.




Table of Contents

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What Types Of Mental Health Problems Do Teens Face?

What Types of Therapy Work Well With Teens?

Should My Teenager Pick Their Own Therapist, Or Should I Choose One For Them?

How Long Do Teens Typically Do Therapy For?






What Types Of Mental Health Problems Do Teens Face?


The teenage years represent a critical period of growth and development, marked by a multitude of physical, emotional, and social changes. While it is a time of exploration, self-discovery, and newfound independence, it can also be fraught with mental health challenges. Adolescence, typically spanning from ages 13 to 19, is a phase where young individuals may encounter a range of emotional and psychological issues.


One prominent mental health concern during this stage is depression. Teenagers often grapple with a rollercoaster of emotions as they attempt to find their place in the world. The pressure to fit in, academic stress, and changing bodies can exacerbate feelings of sadness and hopelessness.


Additionally, anxiety disorders frequently emerge, manifesting as excessive worry, social anxiety, or panic attacks, hindering teenagers from engaging in everyday activities.


Eating disorders, too, cast a long shadow on teenage mental health. The desire to conform to societal beauty standards can lead to conditions like anorexia and bulimia, endangering both physical and psychological well-being.


Moreover, substance abuse is a prevalent issue among adolescents, with many using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.


The implications of these mental health challenges are profound. Untreated, they can lead to academic difficulties, strained relationships, and, in severe cases, self-harm or suicidal ideation. Recognizing the unique needs of teenagers and providing them with the necessary support, understanding, and access to mental health resources is crucial.


Addressing teenage mental health issues not only improves the well-being of individuals but also sets the stage for healthier, more resilient adults. It is a responsibility we all share, to nurture the mental health of our youth during these formative years.



Teen Therapy

Photo by Helena Lopes


What Types of Therapy Work Well With Teens?


The type of therapy that is best for teenagers can vary depending on their specific needs and circumstances. Different therapeutic approaches can be effective, and the choice of therapy should be based on the teenager’s individual issues, personality, and preferences. Here are some common types of therapy that are often used with teenagers:


  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used therapy for teenagers and can be effective for a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, and behavior problems. It focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors.


  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is effective for teenagers struggling with emotional regulation, self-harm, and borderline personality disorder. It emphasizes mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.


  • Family Therapy: Teenagers often benefit from family therapy, as it addresses family dynamics and communication. It can be particularly helpful for issues such as family conflict, substance abuse, and eating disorders.


  • Psychodynamic Therapy: This therapy explores the unconscious processes and how they influence behavior and emotions. It can help teenagers gain insight into their thoughts and feelings.


  • Play Therapy: Play therapy is often used with younger teenagers or those who have difficulty expressing themselves verbally. It involves various forms of creative play to help them process their emotions and experiences.


  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and can be helpful for teenagers struggling with social and relationship issues.


  • Art Therapy: Art therapy uses creative processes to help teenagers express themselves and explore their emotions and experiences through art.


  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Mindfulness techniques can help teenagers manage stress, anxiety, and mood disorders by teaching them to be more present in the moment and develop coping strategies.


  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: This approach is goal-oriented and focuses on finding solutions to current issues rather than delving deeply into the past.


  • Trauma-Focused Therapies: For teenagers who have experienced trauma, trauma-focused therapies like Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) can be effective in helping them process and heal from traumatic experiences.


It’s important to consult with a mental health professional to determine the most appropriate therapy for a teenager. The best therapy will depend on the teenager’s specific needs and the issues they are facing. Additionally, the therapist’s expertise and the teenager’s comfort with the therapeutic approach are essential factors to consider.





Should My Teenager Pick Their Own Therapist, Or Should I Choose One For Them?


Allowing your teenager to participate in the therapist selection process can be beneficial. It empowers them to take an active role in their mental health journey, promoting trust and engagement. Their input ensures a better match in terms of personality and approach, enhancing the likelihood of a productive therapeutic relationship.


However, guidance and oversight from parents are essential. Discuss your teenager’s preferences and needs, then research potential therapists together. Encourage open communication and offer support throughout the process.


Ultimately, striking a balance between their autonomy and your guidance can lead to a more effective therapeutic experience, tailored to your teenager’s unique requirements.


How Long Do Teens Typically Do Therapy For?


The duration of therapy for teenagers varies widely and depends on several factors. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It hinges on the nature and severity of the issues, the teenager’s response to therapy, and their individual progress.


Some adolescents may see positive results in a relatively short time, such as a few months, while others with complex or long-standing issues might require therapy for a year or more.


Therapists often collaborate with teenagers and their families to establish treatment goals and milestones. Once these are met, therapy can be tapered or concluded. However, ongoing support, in the form of occasional sessions or check-ins, may be beneficial to maintain progress and address any potential setbacks.


The key is flexibility and a focus on the teenager’s evolving needs. It’s essential to consult with a mental health professional to determine the appropriate duration of therapy for a specific case.


















Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 10/21/2023



Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals.  However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.






Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.