Let's face it, going to teen counseling or family therapy can be a very daunting decision. Just the simple (but not always easy) first step of admitting there is a problem carries with it a number of unpleasant emotions. There is a reason why our minds, for a period of time, may have held us back from this admission and it can be out of a need to protect. Our minds have an uncanny way to decide when we are ready (or not) to tackle these problems. Denial is one of the more popular protective mechanisms our minds employ.
Denial as a Defense Mechanism (and Protector)
Denial often gets a bad wrap as something negative. Often, denial is employed by the mind to protect ourselves from otherwise painful truths that the mind is not ready, at that time, to address. Denial is helping us cope and function during a period of time when we may not yet have the ability to resolve those internal or external problems. When we do accept that we or a family member needs counseling, this brings down those protective walls of denial and the painful truths start to trickle, and sometimes, flood in. Not always pleasant to experience.
On the other hand, in order to move forward on the path to healing, admitting that help is needed is the necessary first step in the healing journey. With denial, we all reach a point where that wall starts to crumble as that protective wall can only hold back the tide for so long. Admitting that we need help and support can bring with it a sense of relief as we no longer are using our energy burying the problems deep down in our psyche but are now using that same energy to reach out and get help. Accepting and admitting can bring with it it's own sense of peace amidst the storm.
Okay, so now the mind is convinced you that you have the internal capabilities and the external resources needed to start the healing journey. The next step may include telling a loved one (e,g., a friend, family member, partner, etc.) that you are thinking about going to counseling. This step can bring with it it's own uncomfortable challenges.
No one likes to feel like they can't manage things on their own. Feelings of "weakness", shame, or embarrassment can, but not necessarily, follow that admission. We may fear the judgment of others as we've rehearsed in our minds what their reactions will be and in our minds, what we have imagined is a certain reality that will assuredly come to pass. This fear can hold us back from reaching out to a loved one or someone we trust.
Why do I need to tell anyone you may ask? It's not an absolute required step in the healing journey. Although, if we are able to let someone into our struggles, we now have someone who we can turn to in times of difficulty and stress who will love and support us through the healing journey. Besides, we think we do such an excellent job at hiding our struggles but rest assured, our friends, family, partner, etc. are aware something is wrong. They may not know specifically what it is, but when we reach out and let them in, it brings them a sense of relief and often a level of respect and desire to support us.
Next Step -- Finding a Teen Counselor or Family Therapist
We've overcome denial, we've told a loved one we are looking into going to teen counseling or family therapy, and now need to find a counselor. If this is the first time down this road, it can be a bit challenging. Sometimes, a friend or family member can recommend a counselor that they have worked with or maybe someone they know. Other times, you hop on the internet, start to google counselors in your area, and you find out that there are A LOT of counselors in the area. Not only that, but they all have varying approaches to treating the same problems. Which one to choose? If only this was a simple process where you call the first one and it's a perfect fit and everything just works out (sometimes that is the case).
It's often the case that you email and/or call multiple counselors where you get to do a mini-interview of them and they ask about what brings you to counseling. This means that you get to share, no matter how briefly, the challenges that you are facing, multiple times. That in itself can be difficult. You finally settle on a counselor, schedule an appointment, and attend your first counseling session.
The Counseling Journey
You meet your counselor and he/she is fantastic. Your personality meshes well with theirs, they are bright and well educated in counseling approaches, they discuss the course of therapy and for the first time in a long time, you have hope. As you get to know each other over the course of the next several counseling sessions, you begin to feel increasingly comfortable and begin to open up more and more. Eventually, you get to the point where the core internal and/or external problems are being discussed.
Let me tell ya. No matter how comfortable you feel and no matter how confident you are with your counselor, it is never easy to share your most closely held secrets, struggles, and/or difficulties. Going to counseling is work, particularly in the beginning. It requires you to be willing to be vulnerable, take positive risks, talk about things that bring uncomfortable feelings and may touch upon the pain points that the denial was trying to protect you from. It's a little cliche to say, 'it often gets worse before it gets better' but it is often the case. But, IT - CAN - GET -BETTER!
There are no guarantees in teen counseling or family therapy. Though, if you are committed to the healing journey, you simply show up each session, accept and acknowledge that it may get worse before it gets better and remain determined to overcome, you will very likely start to see positive changes. If you remain committed and engaged, you will very likely find that over time, the problems you came in to address no longer plague you. The sense of freedom you feel, the peace, confidence, happiness, self esteem, self worth -- whatever the end result you were seeking, has now become a reality!
Courage to Heal!
Choosing to see a teen counselor or family therapist is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage and courage is not doing something in the absence of fear, courage is doing something despite the fear. The courage that people display way before they enter our counseling office is incredible! For some, the above information may persuade them not to start this journey. For many, they can relate and understand as they are or have been through that experience.
People come in with varying problems and varying degrees of intensity. No matter what, the problems they are choosing to battle and overcome can be painful and difficult, yet they continue to return week after week. They keep in mind the ultimate goal and reason they have chosen to come to therapy and work hard to attain that goal. Those who persist, we see changes occur in many of their lives. And, there are some that choose to stop due to the difficulty and discomfort and we completely understand why and honor them for the courage they have shown in starting the healing journey.
In either case above, after 17 years of providing counseling, I continue to be incredibly impressed and highly inspired day in and day out by those who start in and/or persist in teen counseling and family therapy. They know that there will be times where some sessions will evoke uncomfortable memories, thoughts, and/or emotions, still they persist. Our bodies and minds are wired to avoid pain whether that be physical or emotional, yet they are willing to approach that pain and still they persist. And for those who persist, there comes a day where the difficulty and pain they have experienced in their lives is no longer present. The emotional, behavioral, and/or relational chains that have kept them bound have burst, replaced with a new found freedom.
Start Teen Counseling or Family Therapy Today: Serving the Katy and Houston Area
For those of you who are at one stage or another in exploring the option of attending teen counseling or family therapy -- don't put it off any longer. There is not a better investment than investing in yourself and your relationships. Spend the time and money in making you the best you possible. The benefits will spread far beyond you individually and/or your immediate relationships. Think about what other things you are spending money on currently: can those things bring you the lasting peace, happiness, and freedom you are looking for? Can they create the change that you ultimately desire to achieve?
Reach out today to Katy Teen & Family Counseling. We have the expertise and are specialists in the field of teen counseling and family therapy. We are ready and willing to help your teen and your family. To start this life changing journey, you can follow these simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Talk with our Teen Counseling & Family Therapy specialists
Start your life changing journey in healing the wounds that bind you
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of teen counseling and family therapy approaches to help you and your teen. Some of these include the following:
Neurofeedback Therapy for Teen ADHD