Explaining Therapy for Teens

Are you overwhelmed by teenage emotional meltdowns?

Does trying to help cause even more teen angst?

It may be time to talk to a Teen Therapist.

Explaining Therapy for Teens

Mental health therapists, such as myself, are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a range of emotional and/or behavioral problems. While the field of mental health is quite varied at large, some of us have specialized training to work with certain ages, types of conditions, or provide different interventions.

As a teen therapist, I know how difficult it can be to ask for help. The teens and families I work with are amazing for their continued willingness to be vulnerable and do the hard work it takes to feel better again.

I also know it can be totally overwhelming if you’ve never considered or encountered going to therapy. What are the steps? And how do you know if it’s a good fit? I get these types of questions often so I thought I’d take the time to spell it out here.

The first step is to contact the therapist you are considering directly. Most therapists will take the time to let you know if they are accepting new clients, and if they are a good fit for your needs. If it sounds like a good fit for your needs, budget, and scheduling- the next step is to set up an appointment.

This first in-person appointment can have a few different names (New Client Assessment, Psychiatric Diagnostic Appointment, Intake) – either way, it’s all about getting to know one another to see if everyone feels good and ready to start therapy. This meeting allows the therapist to gather all the necessary background information to determine an appropriate mental health diagnosis. This is essential if you will be using insurance to help pay for therapy appointments.

By the end of this appointment, most therapists are able to share whether they believe the teen would be best suited for individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, or some other kind of help.

After this first appointment, you’ll likely work with your therapist to set up an action plan – technically speaking this is called the Treatment Plan (again-necessary if using insurance benefits). This plan will outline the types of steps and interventions the therapist and you will use to work on your goals for therapy. Basically- the steps to feeling better.

Now, of course, life can happen along the way. That’s why it’s good to review this plan with your therapist from time to time to make sure it still makes sense for your situation/needs.

As teens progress in therapy, the hope is that they start to learn and utilize the skills and insights they acquire in the therapy room, outside of the therapy room. By doing this, they learn to be more and more autonomous and confident in their own abilities to manage and plan for difficulties. They often leave therapy feeling more confident, assertive, and feeling better than when they started.

  • If you know a teen local to Woodbridge, CT who is struggling with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem, and you believe can benefit from group, or individual counseling – have the parents reach out to me directly at help@mallorygrimste.com so we can schedule a time to talk more.
  • If you are a professional and have the family’s permission, you can fill out a referral form on their behalf here: mallorygrimste.com/referral

Want even more positive influences in your teen's life? Teen Girls Therapy Group is a weekly space where your teen girl can connect with others dealing with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. By talking and learning together, they learn to feel better about the relationships they have with themselves and others.

Apply for a spot now by calling 203-228-8971 or completing the contact form here

Mallory Grimste, LCSW - Teen Therapist

Mental Health Counseling for Anxious Tweens, Teens, and Young Adults | Woodbridge, CT