Teen Therapy and Counseling Services
Many of the teens I counsel have been in and out of counseling most of their lives and cannot count how many counselors they have seen through the years. Most teens I work with do not want to start counseling. I have a extremely high rate of engaging teens in counseling, whether they are on the honor roll or convinced they aren’t going to graduate from high school.
One of the options in my office is the Rec Room. Teens enjoy meeting in there and it is amazing how much effective counseling can be done while shooting a game of pool, tossing darts or playing ping pong.
Some of the issues that bring teens into counseling include escalating family conflict, the loss of a parent or significant family member from death or a relationship breaking up. Grades dropping, attitudes getting worse all the time, anger outbursts, concerns of drug and alcohol use.
Today’s teens are living with stressors and demands on them that previous generations never dreamed of.
Domestic Violence (which encompasses emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse) is occurring in too many of the relationships in today’s teens. The vast majority of the teens being victimized will not come forward, usually because of personal shame, a desire to protect the abuser or fear of their parents’ reaction. Many teens really don’t want to hurt or stress out their parents. Believe it or not, the vast majority of teens love their parents and are very concerned about trying to protect their parents from some of their worst problems.
And like many victims of Domestic Violence, there is often a strong belief that the victim can change the abuser. In my clinical opinion based on years of treating victims of Domestic Violence, the reason for this strong belief is that almost always the abuser starts off the relationship by seducing the victim. What I mean by seducing is that they act like they are ” too good to be true” by being so nice, so understanding, so generous, etc. While in fact they are only acting out a role because they are grooming the victim for the abuse. I call this acting or false front the “facade” of the abuser: Many victims, both teens and adults, believe the facade is the genuine person and they can change the abuser back into their facade character.
The abuser is not always the male. When the male is being abused they typically won’t disclose the abuse. Part of it is they are ashamed of being the victim and for most guys the biggest reason they don’t report it is because the abuse starts so gradually they learn to accept it and think it’s normal. When the abuse gets bad enough, most guys may finally admit it is emotional abuse and physical abuse. For the sexual abuse of teens, it is usually by a female older than he is. Often the guy, at least at first, feels like he got lucky or scored. But many of them later realize they’ve been used and victimized.
While most teens won’t easily open up about the abuse, often they will share something small with their parents. If the parents ignore it or act unconcerned, they usually won’t try opening up again. We have only a few hours a day to be with our kids; it is so worth it to be attentive to their needs. Often the teen years are the most difficult for parental communication, so including an effective counselor who can connect with the teen is a wise course of action.
There are multiple theories about why more teens are abusive and abused than at any other time in our nation’s history. As a counselor working with the wounded day in and day out, my concern is that there are victims who need help to break out of the toxic cycle of Domestic Violence. I am an expert in helping victims understand how they got in that predicament, helping them cope with the emotional damage done to them and helping them develop healthy relationships in the future. Knowledge is power; learning how to apply knowledge to real life is wisdom.