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Teen Counseling

Being a teenager (or parent of one) is not easy. The teen counseling experts at Great Lakes Wellness Counseling can help!

Each day can be very different. One day may go really well and the next is filled with drama. It’s no surprise that many teens feel anxious or experience depression. There are many demands placed on adolescents at home, at school, and with friends.

Your bodies are changing and your moods can be, well moody. In addition, your friends now seem more important than your family.  Also, you’re expected to act like an adult but you’re not treated like one. Finally, the idea of knowing who you are and what you’re supposed to do after school can be overwhelming too.

Mom with teenage son meeting with a therapist. The teen attends counseling for anxiety and depression.

Does my teenager need counseling?

Teens face unique challenges, drama, and new stressors every day. Many teens have good intentions and mean well but the delivery is rough. Lots of teens are given a bad rap too. Their positive qualities and unique abilities are overlooked. 

Sometimes they just need support and mentoring to succeed. At some point in your child’s education they may struggle academically, socially, and emotionally. If a struggle or problem at school, work, or home does not go away, it’s time to meet with a teen counseling expert.

It's hard to understand what's normal when it comes to teens and mental health.

The teen years can be filled with lots of fun and lots of frustration too. We believe that life with a teen can be great for both you (the parent and the teen). We also know there can be lots of questions and different responses to the life of teens. As a parent I’m sure you may be wondering what is normal teenage behavior? We get that. It can be hard to manage the give and take involved in the relationship between parents and teens. Unfortunately, a lot of normal teen behaviors are viewed as negative or unacceptable. 

These are normal teen behaviors

● being moody and secretive

● spending time alone in their room

● getting frustrated easily and storming out of the room

● being impatient and short tempered especially with parents

● wanting to spend time with everyone else but family 

● saying things like “you don’t understand,” “You don’t respect me”

● frequently complaining and being restless

It maybe easy to think your teen is out of control when they are showing normal teen behaviors above. However, that’s not necessarily being out of control. When we think of teens acting out, we really mean stuff that can really cause harm to the teen or others. If your teen showing any of the behaviors below they can cause significant problems for your teen and need to be taken care of as soon as possible

Is my teen out of control?

● stealing
● destroying property that belongs to you or others
● physically abusing others 
● being verbally abusive, threatening, or using intimidation 
● not following curfew and staying out all night 
● self-harm behaviors like cutting, binge eating, restricted eating 

What can I do to help my teen?

First, please do not assume behaviors that can cause harm to self or others as ‘normal.’ When these behaviors are not addressed you and your teen will get a wake up call that is not going to be pleasant.

Second, the earlier you let your teen know what is acceptable and what is not the better. If you’re not sure how to do that it’s ok we can help you with that.  Teen counseling can better equip you and your teen for success.

Finally, just understand that all kids and teens need to feel in control. So do parents. Teens who act out are trying to tell you they want some control over their life. That’s good. They just need to know and be shown how to do that in ways that are helpful not hurtful. Our Jenison teen counseling experts can help!

How do you counsel a teenager?

First, want you to know the Great Lakes Wellness Counseling teen counseling and therapy experts look at the whole person. This includes their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. We consider physical changes such as bodyweight, hormone levels, the menstrual cycle, and developments in their brains.

Second, our teen therapists use evidenced based practices. Your teen will learn to control their emotions better and communicate more. Other awesome side effects include better decision making, increased motivation, studying more, respecting you and other authority figures, making new friends, and the creation and maintenance of healthy habits. We’re watching out for you and your teen’s wellbeing, it’s our priority! 


Teen therapy can also address identity changes, decision making skills, motivation issues, and how they view life. Peer pressures, friend group changes, high academic work loads, new responsibilities, and social media use are just a few of the areas teen therapy can help manage.

How does teen counseling work?

First, we will collaborate with both the parent/guardian and the teen. Sessions will usually be one-on-one between the teen therapist or teen mental health provider. This may be frustrating to you as a parent but trust us, this boundary works wonders in helping teens feel in control and invested in the process.

Then, some information may be given to you with teen’s consent.  If harm to self or others is disclosed (e.g., self harm or suicidal thinking) we will share this with you to help keep your teen safe. When your teen knows their privacy is kept, it’s helpful to the progress you’re looking to have happen.

After a few sessions changes will show up. As a parent we know that you want to see changes right away so life at home will calm down more. That is an unrealistic expectation. Things will settle down but probably slower than you think and that’s OK. It’s ok for you to be nervous about that. Above all, we understand what you’re going through and need you to trust the process. There’s a time period where your teen will decide if they want to be real with themselves and the teen therapy expert. They test us just like they test you. This just takes time. When they trust the therapist the work really takes off.

Start today! Get the peace and happiness back in the life of you and your teen.