Overview



Today teens are more aware of mental health and emotional health, and teens are more willing to ask for help when they notice things are not going the way they need.

It is important that you are able to get help in an environment you feel comfortable in, with people who know what they are doing, but are also relatable to you.

We have professional Registered Psychologists at our office. Not only are they well trained to work with adolescents, but we work very hard to have therapists who are good at connecting with teenagers, so that you will be comfortable to work on whatever you are facing.





Counselling Topics


Addictions

There are many signs that a teen is using drugs and, or alcohol.  However, adults need to exercise caution, and realize that sometimes teens are just going through a tough time, what looks like one thing can be normal adolescent angst.  Communication is key!

Some common signs of teen drug/alcohol abuse include: 

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Bad grades
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in friends
  • Change in interests
  • Depression
  • Diminished personal appearance
  • Drug paraphernalia, and or clothes
  • Frequent hunger or “munchies”
  • Increased disrespect for “house rules”
  • Increased focus on alcohol, and or drugs
  • Isolation
  • Laughing for no reason
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Lying
  • Missing curfew
  • Poor hygiene
  • Secretive behavior
  • Smell of smoke on breath or clothes
  • Stealing
  • Trouble with the law or other authority
  • Unusual tiredness

No matter what your teen may be facing it is important to consider finding psychological support if any of the above concerns are showing up.  In particular, when a teen acts out through addiction, crime, self-harm, or threatens suicide many parents feel overwhelmed and unsure how to help their teen.  Teens do tend to express their inside pain by acting out.  

Our psychologists are good at engaging and meeting teens where they are at.


Anger

Adolescence is a complicated time full of transition and personal growth, and of course increased emotion.  Anger often masks other underlying emotions such as:

    frustration, embarrassment, sadness, hurt, fear, shame,       or vulnerability. 

When teens can’t cope with these feelings, they may lash out.

One of our psychologists will be a great support for your teen to help understand and communicate their emotions, as well as to manage their anger.  We can also support you to come alongside of you teen and increase positive communication in your relationship.


Boundaries

Adolescents is a time to explore independence; this can often cause conflict between teens and their parents, and school.  At times the conflict over independence can feel overwhelming for all involved. 

In order for boundaries and discipline to be possible a few things are needed:

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Patience
  • Respect

When teenagers understand the reasons behind decisions, and see that their opinions are considered, they may be more motivated to cooperate. 

It is helpful to get psychological support as you and your teen re-establish your boundaries and communication.


Communication and Conflict

Relationship difficulties and teenage years seem like they go hand in hand.  It is hard to find a teen that does not have a story of communication breakdown, feeling misunderstood, or being bullied.

We see a variety of different teens for a variety of communication needs.  Some communication themes your teen may face:

  • Being Bullied
  • Boundary Setting
  • Communication Skills
  • Conflict Management
  • Fitting In
  • Making Friends
  • Relationship breakups 
  • Social Skills

It is normal to seek help for better communication, we are here for you.  Our psychologists are well aware of the skills that can help teens to meet their social goals.


Depression

Symptoms of depression teenagers may experience or show:

  • Apathy
  • Change in eating habits
  • Criminal behaviour
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Excessive sleep
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
  • Memory loss 
  • Physical pains, including headaches, stomach aches, low back pain, or fatigue
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Rebellious behavior
  • Sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
  • Staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Withdrawing in general

If your teen’s unhappiness lasts for more than two weeks and he or she displays other symptoms of depression, it may be time to seek help.  It is good to set up a meeting with a psychologist to evaluate any symptoms of depression you are noticing.


Emotion Management

Adolescence is difficult to navigate.  When a teen is going through normal teen transitions and difficulties, they may not always know that there will be an end to their difficult time.  Many times, parents begin to notice their happy and healthy teen going through a hard time. Some teens need a bit of guidance and support for their very healthy struggles. 

Emotional concerns your teen may face:

  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying others
  • Embarrassment
  • Excessive Tearfulness
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Passiveness
  • Rigidity
  • Sadness
  • Shame

 Our therapists are here to help. tWe can support you during these difficult and confusing feelings.


Family, Siblings, Parents, Divorce

Families face a variety of issues and sometimes these issues can have a great impact on a teen.  Psychological counselling can help a teen to understand the changes that are happening and to process their thoughts and feelings.

Our therapists see many family related concerns and are skilled to support teens to address these:

  • Divorce/Separation
  • Family Conflict
  • Family System/Roles
  • Grief and Loss
  • Parenting Issues
  • Sibling Rivalry
  • Life Transition of Family Member

Parents may also ask for family therapy to help address these concerns with their teen.  Feel free to call our intake to consult on what may work best for your teen and family.


Forgiveness and Reconciliation

There are so many issues that impact teens.  Unfortunately many teens face hardships and trauma that they cannot get through on their own.  It is very important that teens have psychological care for trauma.

Difficulties teens may face:

  • Loss of a Friend
  • Moving
  • Parental Separation and Divorce
  • Trauma
  • Life Transitions
  • Abuse(s)
  • Changing Schools
  • Illness of a Loved One
  • Illness of the teen
  • Loss of a Loved One

One of our therapists can help you through this time.


Grief and Loss

Grief is a mix of emotions that occurs whenever we experience a loss or are anticipating a loss:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety 
  • Frustration
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Sadness

The teenage years are an especially difficult time to deal with grief and loss for emotional, developmental, and social reasons.  Grief is overwhelming and often teens struggle to communicate with those they love: 

  1. What they are experiencing; 
  2. What support they need.

Signs of Grief in Teens:

  • anger
  • avoidance and isolation
  •  confusion and feeling disoriented, feeling in a fog
  •  constant thoughts of the loss
  • declining grades irritability
  • deep sadness
  • drug and/or alcohol use or abuse
  • eating too much or too little
  • jealousy aimed at those who have what you do not
  • lack of concentration
  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • Nervousness
  • over-activity, acting too busy (to block out pain)
  • risk taking behavior
  • self-blame
  • self-destructive, anti-social or criminal behavior
  • self-harm
  • shock, numbness
  • somatic manifestations of grief (stomach upsets, headaches, fatigue, symptoms similar to the deceased prior symptoms)
  • thinking about suicide
  • unsafe or unwanted sexual activity  
  • wanting to be alone a lot

If you or your teens are noticing these signs of grief it is important to seek out counselling support.  Grieving takes time and one of our psychologists are here to keep in pace with your teen.


Mental Health Concerns

Adolescence is a difficult time for most teens.  There are many new challenges, expectations, pressures and relationships that emerge.  In this context complicated concerns may present themselves. At times it is important to consider: Does my teen have a mental health concern?

Some mental health concerns that teens may face:

  • Addictions
  • ADD/ADHD
  •  Anxiety
  •  Autism/Asperger’s
  • Conduct Disorder or Trouble with the Law
  •  Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Giftedness
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Nonverbal Learning Disability
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Self-Harm
  • Sexuality
  • Social Isolation
  •  Suicidal Thoughts

No matter what your teen may be facing it is important to consider finding psychological support if any of the above concerns are showing up.  

In particular, when a teen acts out through addiction, crime, self-harm, or threatens suicide many parents feel overwhelmed and unsure how to help their teen.  Teens do tend to express their inside pain by acting out. 

Our psychologists are good at engaging and meeting teens where they are at.


Relationships

Teenage years are a time where romantic feelings begin to have a big impact.  Dating, breaking up, questions about sexuality and sexual identity are all themes of adolescences.

Our Psychologists sit with Teens to discuss many relationship topics:

  • •Abusive Relationships
  • Break ups
  • Boundaries
  • Controlling Relationships
  • Dating

Harm Reduction

  • Healthy Relationships
  • Pornography
  • Sexual Identity

It is important to talk about sex an sexuality with teens.  Ou psychologists are here to help navigate this topic with safety and respect.


Resolving Fear and Hurt

When a teen is going through normal teen transitions and difficulties, they may not always know that there will be an end to their difficult time.   Some teens need a bit of guidance and support for their very healthy struggles.  

Our therapists are here to help.

Emotional concerns your Teen may face:

  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying others
  • Embarrassment
  • Excessive Tearfulness
  • Fear
  • Guilt

Helplessness

  • Hopelessness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Passiveness
  • Rigidity
  • Sadness
  • Shame

GIve us a call and talk to our intake about scheduling your teen to meet with one of our psychologists.


Self Esteem

There are many factors that can be at the root of struggles with self esteem:

  • Anxiety
  • Communication breakdown
  • Break up
  • Difficulty setting goals
  • Distractibility
  • Friendships
  • Goal Setting
  • Identity
  • Motivation
  • Personality
  • Procrastination
  • School Performance
  • Sexuality
  • Sports
  • Struggles at home

It is common for our therapists to have conversations with teens about who they are and how they can be the best version of themselves.  Individuals want to understand themselves, and once they do they want help developing strategies to perform their best and to have acceptance for their struggles.

Our psychologists enjoy supporting teens during these times.


Sexuality

Teenage years are complicated for many reasons.  It is also a time where romantic feelings begin to have a big impact.  Dating, breaking up, questions about sexuality and sexual identity are all themes of adolescents.

Our Psychologists sit with teens to discuss sexulity topics:

  • Abusive Relationships
  • Break ups
  • Boundaries
  • Controlling Relationships
  • Dating
  • Harm Reduction
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Pornography
  • Sexual Identity
  • Sexual Orientation

We are here to talk about sexuality in a safe and non judgmental environment.


Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm

Teens often think about and speak about suicide and self-harm. We take this very seriously and also respect that for teens their greatest need during such a time is support.

Because other mental health concerns may be going on for suicidal teens psychological support is a great resource.

Suicide warning signs in depressed teens:

  •   Change in hygiene
  •   Change in physical appearance
  •   Clearly stating suicidal thoughts or plans
  •   Increased drug and alcohol use
  •   Isolation
  •   Reckless behaviour
  •   Researching death, suicide or other self-harm
  •   Signs of self-harming
  •   Writing about death and suicide

Please contact us for assistance, we are here to help and support you to make sense of such a difficult and confusing time.

If the risk of suicide is imminant, please seek emergency services, or go to your local hospital.


Trauma and Abuse

Unfortunately many teens face hardships and trauma that they cannot get through on their own.  It is very important that teens have psychological care for trauma.

Difficulties teens may face:

  • Abuse(s)
  • Changing Schools
  • Illness of a Loved One
  • Illness of the teen
  • Loss of a Loved One 
  • Loss of a Friend
  • Moving
  • Parental Separation and Divorce
  • Trauma
  • Life Transitions

Sojourn Psychology has skilled therapists to support you heal from trauma.


Goal Setting

Teens want to do their best, just like everyone else.  And like the rest of us it is difficult to make plans to be successful, or to set goals on our own.

We see a variety of teens who struggle with success in many different ways.  Our psychologists are great support whether your teen’s goal is to pass math or to make it to the Olympics.


Eating Disorders

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders vary, depending on the type of eating disorder. Be alert for any change in eating patterns and beliefs that may signal unhealthy behaviors in your teen.   Symptoms of eating disorders include:

  • Excessive focus on food and healthy eating
  • Excessive exercise
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
  • Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
  • Regularly going to the bathroom after eating
  • Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
  • Skipping meals, making excuses for not eating or eating in secret
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss

Often times eating disorders are a signal of teens struggling with deep rooted emotions or a sense of loss of control.  

Eating disorders require the help of professions, one of our psychologists can come alongside you and your teen at this time.