top of page


Is your teen in trouble? Just what is a troubled teen?

As any parent knows, raising children can sometimes be fraught with difficulties. While every stage of development has its challenges, adolescence is certainly one of the most troublesome for parents to navigate and this can become even more tortuous if the teen is experiencing emotional distress. Added to this is the possibility that parents themselves often get caught up in the emotional storms that overwhelm their children.

But what truly defines a teen that is troubled and when does a parent really need to seek expert help? Which teenagers are at high risk of such behaviors as drug or alcohol abuse, violence, crippling anxiety, dropping out of school, crisis pregnancy depression or suicide? How can a parent recognise the sometimes very subtle signs of emotional or behavioural problems and to measure the seriousness of the situation?

Examples of Possible Concerns:

  • Withdrawal from family, friends, usual activities or hobbies.

  • Sleep problems – Insomnia or sleeplessness. Nightmares.

  • Hyperactivity or irritability.

  • Frequent acts of anger or aggression or acting out.

  • Continual resistance or hostile behaviour (such as towards those in authority).

  • Refusal to go to school or skips school frequently.

  • Frequent and excessive anxiety or worry. Depression, thoughts of death or suicidal feelings or tendencies.

  • Lying, cheating or stealing.

  • Destructive behaviours such as vandalism or self harm.

  • Threatening self or others. Acting out sexually.

  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

  • Numerous physical complaints.

Teenage Model


Teenagers respond particularly well to cognitive intervention strategies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Based on the premise that emotional difficulties are the result of cognitive distortions in their views of themselves, others and the future, CBT focuses on changing these negative views to ensure a healthier and a more balanced view of the world.

Young people also like to use artistic and symbolic methods to express themselves and convey meaning about their lives to others. The selection of artwork, role play, journals, relaxation, dream work and imagination as therapeutic strategies are chosen according to the needs and wants of each young client.

The treatment of adolescents via counselling and psychotherapy can help to:

  • Examine, challenge and change unhelpful beliefs about themselves and their world.

  • Move between acceptance of what they can not change and commitment to change in a positive direction the things that they can.

  • Restore their emotions to their proper levels.

  • Learn who they are and what is right for them.

  • Control their impulses.

  • Deal with the distress caused by unavoidable life events such as the loss of a loved one.

  • Develop the skills that are necessary to succeed socially.

bottom of page