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Adolescence is a time in one’s life that is filled with difficult lessons, emotional growth, physical and emotional maturation, surging hormones, and a newfound need for autonomy. Children are faced with countless trials and tribulations, many of which they are ill equipped to effectively navigate without support. An adolescent’s brain is not yet fully developed, and though some young people may appear as adults externally, internally they are operating with an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex. This is the area of the brain that reigns rational thought, impulse control, executive planning, and more. Instead, adolescents using the amygdala (area of the brain that governs one’s emotions, impulsivity, emotional behavior, and motivation) instinctively process external stimuli. It is often difficult to distinguish between typical adolescent behavior and child behaviors that may be indicative of larger issues and could benefit from professional guidance. There are a variety of treatment options for teens struggling with mental illness. Commonly used psychotherapeutic modalities include, but are not limited to the following examples:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): utilizes four main strategies (e.g., core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation) for teaching young people skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors. 
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): focuses on how a young person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health. 
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to abusing alcohol.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): is a counseling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior.
  • Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process, and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the recovery process.

To provide a young person with the highest potential for a successful, long-term recovery, a customized and nuanced treatment plan will be created, that considers all treatment options, and incorporates the best possible therapeutic modalities, expressly geared to each teenager’s personal needs.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


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