Are you concerned that your teenage son is suffering from excessive worry and stress? Does he appear overly anxious and tense? Is he unable to relax, and seems as though he is buckling under the weight of an immense, unseen pressure? Is he unable to perform at a level that is satisfying to him? Is he in pain and confused, or perhaps self-conscious and withdrawn? Does your teen find himself absorbed in trying to make it right for others at the expense of his own well-being? Does he awake in the night, wired and unable to sleep? Are you concerned about how your teenager or young adult is dealing with choices around alcohol and drug use/abuse to escape from or dull his pain?
The adolescent years are challenging for everyone. It is a time of great self-questioning, hormonal and physical changes, an expanding social environmental and the forging of an adult identity. Worry is normal and stress is a part of every life for most. However, if your teen or young adult is feeling overwhelmed, he may be suffering from anxiety.
High levels of anxiety can be extremely damaging to your teen’s physical and emotional well-being. Furthermore, he may be making bad choices that can affect him for the rest of his life. If you are worried that your teen is suffering from anxiety now is the time to explore getting him someone to talk to.
Professional Anxiety Therapy Can Help
At first a teenager may feel resistant to the idea of speaking to a professional because of the implied stigma that may come along with the notion of asking for help in this way. Underneath this first layer of concern may be a fear of getting known more, especially the fear of self-discovery. However, intervention at this juncture is key to helping your teen overcome anxiety and live a healthier life.
In recent years the trends in our educational systems has been towards enormous pressure to perform at a very high level in school. Colleges have become more expensive and more competitive. From this trend the stakes continue to rise. Both parents and students feel the intense need to have the student over-perform, excel at extra curricular activities, score high on standardized entrance exams in order to stay competitive.
Young people in our culture have exposure to a wide variety of their peers through social media. Most of what they are exposed to are the great successes, accomplishments, achievements of their classmates, others their age. This experience of having exposure to the competitive advances of their peers can lead to their own sense of their inadequacies, shortcomings and struggles.
Illicit substances are much more accessible, and trends towards legalization in some states in America have blurred the lines of what might be acceptable for many. Substances tend to be more powerful and young developing brains are vulnerable to the effects of these substances.
America is now in its third generation where divorce has become much more of the norm. Many young people have to deal with the reality of experiencing their parents marriage disintegrate before their eyes. Often young people feel torn about issues of allegiance to their parents in families of divorce. Even if parents were mindful to avoid a more hurtful or contentious divorce, one parent may have been able to move on more in their lives while the other struggles to couple again, or move on in their career in a way that is satisfying or have health issues that create obstacles in their lives.
This discrepancy in the quality of life that the parent’s may experience can leave a young person feeling torn in two about how to handle this experience. Issues of split loyalties may pull them in different directions and create a sense of undertow in their lives. Success may mean moving on, and moving on may be experienced as leaving a parent behind.
Teen anxiety treatment through psychotherapy creates many opportunities for a young person. Adolescents and young adults, by definition are in a moment of development, especially around issues of identity. The therapy relationship allows the young person to have access to a dialogue that focuses on issues of identity with an adult in unique way.
Therapy may turn into the only opportunity a young person can have in this moment of their life to directly and quite deliberately address issues of identity development. In therapy the intention is to consciously and mindfully create a process where identity issues can be examined, broken down, evaluated, processed, shaped, formed, moved towards or away from and so on.
In a certain sense the therapist can be seen as having grandfatherly role with the teenager; a caring, involved, responsive adult, who has the ability to field all of the complexities the young person presents while advocating for young adult. In this role the therapist serves the relationship by working towards minimizing the ever-present sense of pressure and demands in the young person’s life to “succeed” through the conventional means.
Success through this new lens becomes about helping the young person grapple with the process of self-discovery in a non-judgmental relationship.
I Specialize in Teen Anxiety Psychotherapy
For over 25 years in my psychotherapy practice I have focused on helping teens and young adults overcome anxiety and depression. If your son is reluctant to seek professional help, ask him to become involved in the process of choosing the professional therapist who is right for him. Check out my bio and know that I am here when you are ready to heal.
When you feel ready to break free please reach out to at (202) 355-9460. Or send me a message using the form below to schedule a time to meet me at myBethesda officeor at myAnnapolis office.
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