As a teen therapist, one of the questions I ask in the first session is, "What are your sources of meaning?" This question is a bit vague, but I ask it for a reason. Our sources of meaning are those things that we turn to that give us a sense of identity, purpose, and direction. Our sources of meaning have to do with our values.
Our values are the things in our life that serve as a foundation for who we want to be. Teens grow up in a world where instant gratification is the highest ideal. Teens pick up the message that feeling "good" in the moment is what life is all about.
Against this perspective, I try to help teens think about the importance of values. Values are the ideals that we hold on to that help us experience true meaning and significance.
Research suggests the more our actions align with our values, the happier we are. If family is a value of mine, spending more time with them will help me feel good about myself. Not spending time with them will cause me to struggle.
Values Clarification in Teen Therapy
The teens years are the years where we all start to formulate what we value in life. This is a time where our identity starts to become solidified and values play a large role in this.
Helping teens understand that happiness can come from living a life aligned with one's own values is an important lesson to learn early in life. And first, we have to clarify what are values are.
Values Clarification Worksheet
There are several ways in teen counseling to help teens clarify their values. A common one is the values clarification worksheet. This sheet includes popular values that many teenagers choose to adopt. Some of these values include:
I ask the teenager to pick the 5 values they cherish the most. The point of the exercise is for teens to reflect on why these values are important to them. We tend to have great discussions on why the teen has chosen each value.
Another important exercise I use in teen therapy is to ask the teenager to imagine the future. This can be a future when they are much older and established as an adult. I ask them to tell me what kind of person they want to be. I ask them to tell me what friends and loved ones will say about them. This helps teens focus on their potential and future aspirations.
Actions Aligned with Values
Struggling teens are likely not living in line with their values. A teen with depression disconnects from their friends. A teenager with anxiety avoids social situations that were once important to them.
In my teen therapy, I emphasize the value of value-aligned behavior. It's important that therapy goals align with client values.
If I am working a teen who struggles with depression, I try to uncover what is most important to them. If they say sports, we may start with small goals that align with being active and getting outside. The teenager may not feel good enough to join the team. But they can stake a step in the direction of value-aligned action.
Small steps in the direction of being active can lead to the larger goal of joining the team again.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: 70+ Years of Combined Experience in Teen Therapy in Katy, Tx
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Other Teen Therapy, Family Counseling, & Young Adult Therapy Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we also provide other counseling and therapeutic services. We have therapists who also specialize in marriage counseling and couples therapy.
While not intended, it can be stressful parenting a teen who is struggling. We want the best for our teen and to see them hurting causes us to hurt as parents. As a result, it can sometimes create strain on the relationship. Our marriage counselors and couples therapists can help.
We also provide other counseling and therapeutic services for teens, young adults, & families at our Katy, Tx location:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support Group for Parents
Parents of teenagers and young adults face unique challenges. The "Parents Supporting Parent's" group at Katy Teen & Family Counseling provides a place where parents can meet with other parents of teenagers and young adults who may be struggling.
Parents will walk away from this group with a greater feeling of support, actionable skills, and even friendships.
About the Author
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 trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, social 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.
To read more about Quique Autrey, LPC, check out his bio on the Katy Teen & Family Counseling website. You can also check out Quique's podcast, "Therapy for Guys" and his personal website, quiqueautrey.com.
If you're ready to start your healing journey in teen therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.