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How "Ted Lasso" Can Help Your Teen be a Happier Person

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Everyone seems to be talking about the 2020 surprise comedy sensation Ted Lasso. Ted Lassso is a show about a midwestern football coach who transitions into being the coach of an English premiere soccer league. The character knows nothing about soccer but has experience helping teams come together and succeed.

Ted Lasso is not your typical comedy. It's a show that pulsates with wisdom and depth.

Sure, the show is outrageously funny and entertaining. But it is also a show that can help any person become a better version of themselves.

As I've watched the show, I've come back to my role as a teen therapist. There is wisdom and truth in Ted Lasso that could benefit the teens I work with.

The teenagers I work with in teen counseling want to be happy. This is not always an easy task. Happiness is more of a fluid process than a fixed place. It takes work and effort to be happy.

Wisdom From 'Ted Lasso'

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In this blog I'd like to share a few quotes from Ted Lasso. Under each quote I'll provide a brief commentary and a practical application to the lives of modern teenagers.

"You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It’s a gold fish. Know why? It’s got a 10 second memory. Be a goldfish."

Quite often, teens in teen therapy can fixate on the mistakes they've made in the past. They can also obsess over the uncertainties of the future.

Whether it's the past or future, when teens lose sight of the present they increase their chances of getting stuck in shame or crippled by anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, or depression.

“Be a goldfish” is a metaphor for staying grounded in the present. We can't change the past or predict the future.

It does no good to ruminate on what should have been. It's not helpful to fret about what could happen. Be a goldfish and stay focused on the here and now.

As a teen counselor, I have found that teenagers can benefit from learning a mindfulness practice. A mindfulness practice will help a teenager be a goldfish.

In a mindfulness practice a teenager learns how to be accepting of their present experience without judgement. Mindfulness practices include:

  • Writing in a journal

  • Body scan meditation

  • Coloring

  • Going for a walk

  • Lighting a candle

"All people are different people."

This next quote is dangerously close to being a cliché. Of course everyone is different!

However, to insecure teens who are trying to figure out their identity, it's a truth that needs to be reiterated again and again.

Teens I work with in teen counseling often operate out of the assumption that there's a popular kid out there that they should be more like. Or someone who's more attractive, intelligent, or athletic.

All people are different people is a phrase that underscores the importance of plurality and eccentricity.

Not everyone is going to be the same and that's a great thing. Some teens have neurological differences and that's ok.

Some teens are more interested in social events while others relish in their time alone. There's no one right way to be you. All people are different people.

As an exercise I ask my teens to write down the 5 things that make them different than most of their peers.

After writing down the 5 attributes, we discuss them and explore how they can be more fully integrated into their life.

"Bird by Bird"

This phrase, “bird by bird” is a reference to the book Bird by Bird authored by Anne Lamott. In it, Lamott describes her father's advice to her brother.

Overwhelmed by a writing assignment about birds, Lamott's father encourages his son to tackle one obstacle at a time, "Just take it bird by bird.”

Bird by bird is not a bad way to describe the flow of therapy. In therapy we traffic in the slow movement of incremental progress. Baby steps.

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long journey. But small, focused changes can lead to massive growth!

In teen therapy, I use the metaphor of the aluminum can monster with my teenage clients. Whatever obstacle stands before them can seem like a giant monster eager to crush them.

The key to getting through is recognizing the monster is constructed of many small aluminum cans. Once they see this and start knocking out individual cans, they realize the entire edifice will eventually collapse.

If teens can take things bird by bird, they can overcome anything.

“For me, success is not about the wins and losses. It’s about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.”

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In teen counseling, I talk to my teen clients about the true meaning of success. For many of my high achieving clients, success is having a perfect GPA or winning all of their games.

It's important to say that good grades and a winning record are not bad things. The problem lies in a one-sided definition of success.

Success should also include growing into the best possible version of ourselves.

Values are the positive traits that are important to us and that guide our life. I ask my teens to pick one value they want to focus on and develop.

Some teens pick being a responsible person. Others pick friendship or compassion.

Whatever the value, teens who focus on growing their strengths are more successful than those who do not.

I ask my teens to write down their chosen value on a sheet of paper. They can draw on the paper, color it or decorate it however they choose.

After writing down the value, I ask them to jot down at least 5 practical ways they want to embody this value in the world. For the teen who chooses responsibility he may write down:

  • Cleaning up my room

  • Setting an alarm in the morning

  • Turning in assignments on time

  • Responding to texts messages

  • Getting to bed at a decent hour

“I believe in hope. I believe in BELIEVE.”

Believe in 'Ted Lasso' is synonymous with hope. Hope is not wishful thinking or blind faith. In fact, hope has more to do with our motivation and actions than a passive desire.

According to Charles Snyder's Hope Theory, hopefulness is a psychological strength comprised of three different but related components:

  • Goals: clear and specific desired outcomes

  • Pathways thinking: the ability to imagine different ways to accomplish these goals

  • Agency: the motivation to utilize the different strategies to accomplish a goal

Hope does not fade away when life gets difficult. True hope enables a person to stay grounded under the worst circumstances.

Hope is an orientation to life that focuses on goals and motivation to make the best out of any situation.

I encourage my teenage clients to keep a hope journal. A teen is encouraged to reflect on the stressful situations during a week.

Instead of focusing on the negative, a hope journal challenges them to reflect on what they can do to alleviate the issue. The goal is to increase the options available to the teen and to spark greater motivation to change.

Therapy Can Help A Teen Be Happier Person

Teen therapy can help a teenager experience greater happiness. Teen counseling is not just about fixing what’s broken.

Positive psychotherapy emphasizes a teenager’s strengths and works to build on those. Every teen is unique and gifted with special capabilities.

Specializing in teen counseling, we can work with your child to help them leverage their strengths and be the best possible version of themselves.

Katy Teen & Family Counseling: 50+ Years of Combined Teen Therapy Experience Katy, Texas & Houston

At the Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we specialize in providing teen counseling for teen anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, school anxiety, depression, ADHD/ADD and other emotional or behavioral struggles.

Our teen therapists can help your teen and family restore hope, happiness, & connected family relationships.

If you are ready to start your healing journey with one of our teen therapists, you can follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling, PLLC.

  2. Take that first step in restoring hope, happiness, and connected family relationships.

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 provide other counseling and therapeutic services such as Marriage counseling and couples therapy.

Often, when parenting a struggling teen, this can have a direct impact on the parents 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:

Board Certified Neurofeedback

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

Man standing in front of tan brick wall, wearing blue pin stripe dress shirt, tan sports coat, smiling. He provides therapy to gifted students katy, tx and therapy for trauma katy, tx 77494. He also provides counseling for ptsd katy texas 77494.

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, 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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