Many parents wonder if therapy is only for people with certain mental health diagnoses. While therapy has many demonstrated benefits for resolving and supporting mental health conditions, the benefits of therapy extend beyond coping with difficult symptoms and situations.
Teens (and their parents too) can improve their wellbeing and functioning through therapy, whether they have a mental health diagnosis or not. Read on to discover some of the ways therapy could improve your teen’s life - and maybe yours too!
The purpose of therapy is to improve your mental health, and improved mental health can change your life in many positive (and sometimes surprising) ways. Therapists study and practice to become experts in assisting people with their mental health by:
While these approaches have obvious benefits for the patient, research has demonstrated that improving your mental health connects to other elements of health and wellbeing.
For many people, therapy helps to increase your productivity at school and work. It allows you to focus more on what you need to get done, and even enjoy work more, when you’re not distracted by distressing symptoms and problems.
Therapy can help improve your physical health. Many people experience relief from chronic health conditions when they start getting consistent mental health treatment. Lower stress overall places less strain on your body, which makes your body better able to heal physically. When your mental health is improved, you get sick less often and take better care of yourself. Therapy can help you feel right in body and mind.
So to answer the question of “who can benefit from therapy” - the answer is anyone who wants to improve their health! If you’re feeling skeptical of whether therapy would really benefit your teen, ask yourself if your teen would benefit from lower stress in any area, whether that’s school, health, or relationships. Therapy can help improve all of these realms and more.
Therapy can support teens and their parents in many ways, including in some areas that you might not expect at first:
Due to the intense changes that all adolescents experience, these years can be tumultuous for teens and young adults (and their families). This can also be when mental health diagnoses first emerge, like teen anxiety or teen depression. According to the CDC, 1 in 3 high school students experienced a mental health condition in the past 3 years, and nearly half feel persistently sad or hopeless. Therapy can provide direct help and intervention for mental health conditions, or any teen hoping to improve their emotional wellbeing.
It’s normal for teens to experience emotions (like anger) more intensely, and for these emotions to change rapidly day to day as they develop their identities and explore new relationships. This is also why therapy can be so needed by teens and young adults in particular. It’s challenging for parents or peers to provide the full spectrum of support that an adolescent might need. It’s ok to seek help from a therapist expert during the teen years.
Because therapy can help a teen better cope with their stress and general wellbeing, therapy can improve a teen’s academic function. A therapist can help with strategies for managing school work, staying focused, setting goals and expectations, and structuring time. Whether your teen invests too much time and stress on school, or too little, a therapist can help get to the bottom of what’s driving their stress or lack of motivation, and find coping skills for this.
The teen years are a significant time of identity formation. The major work of being a teenager is figuring out “who you are.” Teens may “try on” different identities in the form of hobbies, interests, and friends. It can be hard to know how to support your teen’s growing identity, especially if it feels new or outside of your family culture or comfort. A therapist can help your teen navigate this time and form their identity in a safe and mature way.
Many parents notice their teen’s relationships changing when they enter the adolescent years, whether this is friendships or first romantic connections. A therapist can serve as another adult for your teen to confide in, and help them develop safe and secure boundaries.
Exploring the benefits of therapy for your teen might make you wonder - could I benefit from therapy, too? It’s a great idea to explore therapy for yourself or your family when your teen is getting individual therapy for themselves. Parenting a teen is both rewarding and challenging, and having support directly for yourself can only help to improve your own wellbeing, and your family’s, by extension.
Here are some ways therapy can help you as a parent, and help improve your parent-child relationship:
The most important element of therapy is that you find a therapist you can connect to and trust. Your therapist should be appropriately licensed, and have experience with your therapy goals. They should feel like someone you want to talk to, either because you have things in common or because they have a personality or presence that makes you feel safe. Therapy can certainly be difficult at times, and you may leave therapy at times feeling challenged or like you have a lot to think about. But in general the best therapy comes from a therapist you like and trust.
If you need support with a particular mental health diagnosis or a specific goal, it’s good to look for a therapist who can provide high quality, evidence-based care. Medical or school professionals will sometimes make a recommendation for a specific kind of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or family systems. This is usually because there is research to support a particular kind of intervention for the problems you or your teen are facing. When in doubt, look for an expert in what you are dealing with. The most important part of therapy is that the therapist is a good fit for you.
Joon was developed specifically for teens and young adults, so all of the therapists working on our platform are experts in this age group and all of the unique developmental issues they present. They’re also experts in connecting with parents about teens. Joon’s mission is provide the highest quality therapy to our clients, and we do this in 4 ways:
Therapy can be hugely beneficial to teens and their families. If you’re curious about how therapy could benefit your teen, talk to an expert at Joon today.