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Good Mental Health for Teens: 3 Principles to Strive For

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As a teen therapist, I spend a lot of time helping teens and families navigate their mental health struggles. Over the years, it's been important for me to help people understand what good mental health (GMH) looks like. Below are three important principles that constitute GMH:

3 Principles of Good Mental Health (GMH)

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1. Personal Responsibility

Therapist Windy Dryden writes that it is not external events that disturb us, but our rigid and extreme beliefs about these events. This is important to remember because teens have to realize that their mental health is dependent on their emotional and behavioral

responses to events in their life. While it is true that situations and other people contribute to a teen's disturbance, they cannot blame their feelings on these situations and people.

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) teaches teenagers to break down their issues using the ABC model.

A. This stands for the "Activating Event." This is the originating experience the teenager infers has created the mental health struggle. This can be something that has happened at school, at home or in a relationship.

B. This stands for the "Belief". Belief refers to the extreme and rigid attitude the teenager adopts towards the A. These beliefs typically express the teens reluctance to tolerate distress, their proclivity to catastrophize and depreciate themselves when something negative happens.

C. This stands for the "Consequences". These are the consequences of a teen holding an extreme and rigid B in response to the A. These consequences can be emotional, behavioral (overt actions or action tendencies) and thinking.

While teens are not ultimately responsible for the A (since these are usually out of their control), they are responsible for their B and C in response to the A.

2. Social Interest

GMH also includes a healthy balance of self-care and social connection. Albert Ellis was fond of saying that people should strive to put themselves first, and others a close second.

GMH requires teens to take care of their emotional and physical health. Teens should spend time exercising, eating well, having plenty of down time and engaging in activities that bring them personal satisfaction.

This should be balanced with a healthy dose of social interaction. Teens are biologically wired to experience positive emotions and esteem from social connections. Teens that don't cultivate positive social bonds will suffer and not experience GMH.

3. Tolerating Short Term Discomfort for Long Term GMH

We live in a culture that encourages short-range hedonism. This is a philosophy of life that encourages teens to experience physical pleasure most of the time. Whether it's social media or fast food, teens are encouraged to pursue a good feeling as their primary goal.

The pursuit of pleasure is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is when it is taken to an extreme and not properly balanced with the importance of long-term constructive goals. GMH is linked to a long-term hedonism that balances short-term pleasures with long-term constructive goals.

Teens need to learn how to occasionally tolerate dissatisfaction and negative emotions for the sake of long-term fulfillment and success. Teens that are able to balance these two things have a greater shot of experiencing GMH.

Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Providing Teen Therapy & Family Counseling in Katy, Tx & Houston

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At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we have 70+ years of combined experience in providing teen counseling and family therapy. If you are a teen who is struggling or parents of a teen who is struggling, we can help.

Our teen therapists can help with challenges such as depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, trauma, PTSD, and other life difficulties.

If you are ready to start your journey towards happiness, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling, PLLC.

  2. Meet with one of our teen therapists

  3. Take that first steps on your path of restoring hope and happiness in your life

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 have experienced therapists that can help. In addition to teen therapy, young adult counseling, and family therapy, we also provide marriage counseling and couples therapy.

If you are finding that your marriage or relationship could benefit from outside support, our marriage counselors and couples therapists can help.

Below are other services we provide at Katy Teen & Family Counseling:


Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)

Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

About the Author

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Quique Autrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Quique specializes in teen therapy, young adult counseling, couples therapy, and marriage counseling. Quique has helped others overcome challenges that include 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.

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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