One Chicago Therapist’s Approach to Counseling for Teens During COVID
To say that our teens are dealing with a lot of stress right now would be an understatement.
Covid, remote schooling, social isolation from friends and peers, highly charged racial and political unrest, economic insecurity, and an unpredictable future all play a huge role in our teens’ mental health.
With so much stress and uncertainty, it’s no wonder anxiety among teens is skyrocketing.
This epidemic of anxiety makes it critical that parents provide an environment that’s rich in love, support, and resources if necessary. Getting clear on how exactly the pandemic affects your child is crucial. It can be difficult however if they’re not used to expressing their feelings or believe they should “just deal with it”. In addition, you’re likely trying to manage your own level of stress around the pandemic. This makes it more challenging to stay in tune with the emotions and needs of your teen.
Let’s take a look at what your teen may be experiencing during the pandemic and how you can help.
How Covid Quarantine May be Affecting Your Anxious Teen
As an online therapist in Illinois, providing anxiety therapy for teens, I often hear similar concerns from my clients. Without a doubt, Covid and the resulting quarantine weigh heavily on their minds and cause both anxiety and major disruption in their lives. Here are some ways Covid may be impacting your teen:
Your teen may have a fear of family members becoming ill and dying.
Clearly, family members becoming ill and dying have huge ramifications on your teen’s life. Although they push for more independence as they get older, teens still rely heavily on their family for security and a sense of identity. When teens see parents or other family members sick and frail, it creates uncertainty which leads to insecurity and fear.
They may feel disconnected from a social support system.
When teens don’t see friends or school peers for months, it leaves a deep sense of loneliness at an age when friends mean everything to them. Are friends getting together without your teen? Are they being excluded? Is there fear that a dating relationship will end because they can’t spend time with each other? These are all worries that can lead to anxiety.
Your teen may feel uncertainty over how to handle strong emotions.
Not knowing how to handle the intense mix of emotions on their own, some teens turn to self–harm, eating disorders, and even suicide ideation. Many teens haven’t learned how to process strong emotions. Others get caught up in impulses without understanding the severity and harm they can cause. Either way, this uncertainty plays a huge role in their anxiety.
Teens may fear the economic impact on the family.
Teens worry about family finances and how it will affect them personally. What might happen if one or both parents lose their jobs to downsizing due to Covid? Will their family be able to pay the bills, stay in their home, or afford their current lifestyle? These questions are all valid and play a part in a teen’s sense of security.
Perhaps they are experiencing confusion and fear over racial and political upheaval.
Daily news reports and images in the media of racial inequality and unrest cause teens to feel hopeless. Political upheaval and violence leave them feeling deeply distressed. A pervasive sense of injustice and confusion over what they’re seeing unfold causes teens to question not only their future but the future of our country as well.
Solution-Focused Brief Counseling for Teens Can Help!
If ever there was a good time to get your teen into anxiety therapy, it’s now. But lots of teens resist.
Maybe you’ve seen anxiety symptoms in your teen over the last several months? Perhaps you’ve even suggested they talk to an online therapist via online therapy – only to be met with a firm “NO”. I get it.
As an online therapist for teens with anxiety, parents frequently tell me how resistant their teen can be to therapy. Unfortunately, most teens (and everyone else for that matter) have a rather outdated view of therapy and what happens in a counseling session.
Thankfully, online therapy has evolved!
For instance, we’re now able to offer an alternative approach to traditional therapy – one that’s clinically sound, gets great results, and teens actually (dare I say), enjoy!
In just a handful of sessions using Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), I help teens reduce their anxiety and build resilience so they can become happier and more confident. Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is not only a highly effective counseling process but it also enables teens to build change in their lives in the shortest possible time.
Why is Solution-Focused Brief Therapy So Effective in Counseling for Teens?
We start with your teen’s desired outcome and work from there.
I’m more interested in where your child wants to go (future focus) than what they want to leave behind (fixating on their anxiety and problems). By zeroing in on your teen’s desired outcome, we work together on what your teen wants to achieve without getting lost in detail, old history, and diagnoses. They learn to let those things go and move towards the future that looks promising.
Our work together is based on hope.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is a “hope” approach. I take hope and make it linguistic through the questions I ask. I ask my teen clients to describe a world that’s hopeful to them. Then I help them to connect who they currently are to who and where they want to be. As hope is generated and focused on, hope grows and is one of the driving forces of change.
In therapy, we work quickly.
The vast majority of teens do not have the patience for long-term therapy. Thankfully, I understand that change can happen quickly. Because your teen’s strengths already exist, it often takes less time to put them to use in addressing the anxiety or problem. Strengths, resources, and resilience can then be drawn upon in order for change to happen.
With counseling for teens, autonomy is completely respected.
I do not work with an agenda in mind. I do not take the view that it’s my role to tell your child what to do. Rather, my role is to work with your child in such a way that they get themselves “unstuck” and moving again. We work towards change with the hope and expectation that they can be successful. I firmly believe in your teen’s ability, competence, and capability to change.
I view your teen as a superhero.
Your teen has skills, traits, and abilities; they’ve just forgotten how powerful and strong they are. I remind them of how unique and important they truly are. And once they realize this, they can take action to overpower and overcome almost any problem they encounter in life. It’s amazing how when you begin to view people as superheroes, that’s who they become.
Feel free to share with your teen all the reasons why Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is such an effective anxiety therapy. BUT if they need a little more convincing, let them know they can receive counseling from the comfort of their own home!
Many Teens Prefer Online Counseling to In-Office Counseling.
Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean it’s always the best or most convenient. More and more online therapists are offering online therapy and finding that many actually prefer online counseling for teens to in-person. Online counseling has also been well-researched and proven to be as effective as in-office counseling, especially with kids and teens.
Primary Reasons Counseling for Teens is Preferred:
Video chatting feels familiar to teens.
Video chatting mimics the way teens are most comfortable communicating with friends. As a result, online therapy may feel “safer” than visiting an office and having to share difficult feelings with an adult in person.
Teens can relax in a familiar environment.
Often teens will surround themselves with their pets or sit outside in their backyard during our sessions. As the therapist, I love getting a glimpse into their world and seeing how they interact with their environment.
Online therapy saves time and effort.
Online sessions are easier for parents and teens to manage because no commute is required. No rushing out of school to get to a counseling office and no fighting the notorious Chicago rush hour traffic!
Begin Anxiety Counseling for Teens in Illinois
Don’t allow your teen to feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety one more day. Counseling can help your teen reduce their anxiety as well as rebuild their confidence and develop coping skills. As an experienced and caring therapist, I love providing online anxiety therapy in my online Illinois-based counseling practice. I am excited to work with your teen to help them overcome their stressors. To start counseling for teens, follow these simple steps:
- Click on the Schedule an Appointment button.
- Select a day and time in my online calendar
- Learn about your teen therapist
- Start seeing your teen overcome their anxiety and enjoy life to the fullest!
Other Counseling Services at Briefly Counseling
Online anxiety counseling for teens isn’t the only service I offer in my Chicago and Illinois online counseling practice. Other mental health services provided by Briefly Counseling include online therapy for kids and Christian counseling for kids and teens. Lastly, I provide all services via online therapy in Illinois. Whether you’re in Riverside, Chicago, Champaign, Rockford, Peoria, or Quincy. I can help you. Schedule your appointment or consultation today. I look forward to working with your child or teen to quickly and effectively help them in activating their strengths, resources, and resilience, in order to live with confidence and hope.
Helena Madsen, MA, LCPC is the founder of Briefly Counseling. I specialize in providing online short-term anxiety treatment for kids and teens ages 7 – 19 in Chicago and Illinois.
Visit my website at www.BrieflyCounseling.com for more information or call 224-236-2296 to connect with me personally.