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3 Ways to Help Your Teen Develop Self-agency

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Psychologist Jordan Peterson has popularized the mantra that we should clean our rooms. Peterson has more in mind than a mere clean bedroom.

The principle behind the mantra is that when we take control of our environment we grow in other ways. This is a principle that guides my work as a teen therapist.

Teens who struggle with anxiety and depression report feeling powerless. Teens describe their situation as being one where they feel they lack control. How do we help our teenagers feel like they have self-agency?

What is Self-Agency?

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In short, self-agency is:

  • The belief that one has the power to complete goals

  • The sense that one has some control over one’s environment

  • The knowledge that one’s actions have consequences (both positive and negative)

In our modern world, teenagers need help developing self-agency more than ever before.

The following are practical solutions on how we can help our teens develop and cultivate self-agency:

1. Clean Your Room

Taking care of your immediate environment can lead to larger changes. In therapy we say that small steps can lead to massive transformations.

Teenagers stuck in depression may struggle with energy and motivation and can fall into the trap of not doing very much. They believe they don’t have any power and that their actions don’t matter. Encouraging them to start by cleaning their room is a small, achievable first step and is also symbolic.

Their room symbolizes their domain. This is their safe space. The one place they have some say and control over.

If their room is a mess, they are giving into the reality that their life is out of control. If they can pick up and keep their room in order, they can have an experience of self-agency.

By exercising control, they can build the psychological muscle of agency. When they feel they can make a difference, they can harness this in other areas. Taking small steps can lead to larger successes.

2. Serving Others

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Self-agency is about understanding that our actions have consequences. Teenagers are likely sick of their parents saying this. But it's a message worth repeating and it doesn’t always have to be a negative thing.

Positive actions have positive consequences too. Within a depressed mindset, it’s easy to believe that nothing one does matters. This is part of what leads to inactivity and defeat.

One way to help teenagers experience that what they do matters is by encouraging them to serve. There are many opportunities to serve in your community. Find ways to serve that would be meaningful for your teenager.

If they love animals, get them plugged into a shelter. If they enjoy building, find an organization like Habitat for Humanity. Service is a tangible way for teens to experience that their actions can have a positive impact.

3. Teen Therapy

Teen therapists are professionals that help teens cultivate self-agency. One of the ways they do this is by challenging the negative thoughts and beliefs about themselves that teens can struggle with.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is supported by research and shown to be effective. It's a method that works with teens to reframe their thinking and beliefs about themselves. If a teen can change their core beliefs about themselves, they can develop a deeper sense of self agency.

CBT also works with teens to create behavioral goals. These goals are short, manageable, attainable, realistic and time-based. A therapist can track a teen's progress and steer them in a healthy direction.

Teen therapy provides the right balance of encouragement and accountability. The ultimate aim in teen counseling is to help the client develop a greater sense of self-agency.

Begin Teen Therapy With a Teen Counselor at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Katy, Tx & Houston

Summer time affords us a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year. With schedules lightening up, summertime is a great time to get ahead of the emotional struggles that can impact a teen's happiness & success.

Start teen therapy today to help your teen overcome teen depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, and other struggles. Heading into next school year with your teen feeling a sense of self-agency over their struggles will make a difference.

If you are ready to work on removing the emotional struggles that stand in your way, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Speak with one of our teen counselors who specialize in teen therapy

  3. Let us help you overcome the struggles that stand in your way of happiness & success

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Serving Katy, Tx & The Houston Area

At the Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide other counseling and therapeutic services with an emphasis on the family system.

Parenting struggling teens or young adults can place a strain on the marriage or relationship. We also provide marriage counseling and couples therapy.

We also provide a variety of specialized teen therapy, young adult counseling, and family counseling services:

Neurofeedback Therapy

Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)

Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT)

About the Author

Man in dress shirt and tan sports coat smiling. He is a teen counselor in katy, tx and a teen therapist in katy, tx 77494. He provides teen therapy and teen counseling in katy, tx.

Quique Autrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Quique specializes in teen therapy and helping teens build upon their innate strengths while developing skills and tools to overcome depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD, and more.

Quique views each individual through that lens and provides therapy for the family system which includes: teen therapy, young adult counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling & couples therapy.

Quique also has a passion for helping teens, young adults, and adults who may be on the Autism Spectrum. He has a talent for connecting with and helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you're ready to start your healing journey in teen therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at

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