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Teen Therapy San Diego, CA

Is your teen struggling with anxiety, depression, or with their overall self-esteem?

Seeing a teen therapist can provide skills and techniques to help your teen overcome their current struggles

Does your teenager struggle with anxiety or depression? Do they have low self-esteem and difficulty communicating with others? Do you find that your child has obtained an increased focus on their body, eating habits, or exercise? Perhaps your teen is having a hard time getting through each day, regulating their emotions, and are experiencing mood swings. Maybe they have gone through a traumatic event, which has caused them to isolate from others and have heightened feelings of anxiety. Some teenagers even develop disordered eating or excessive exercise patterns to serve as a distraction and a way to cope with uncomfortable feelings. These struggles can trickle into other areas of their life and have a negative impact on their grades, relationships (with you and with others), and overall mood.

The teenage years of an individual’s life are arguably the most influential years

It is not surprising if your teen is struggling to regulate their emotions, connect with others, or with their overall self-esteem at this time. This period of one’s life can feel very confusing, as they are transitioning from the comfort of being a young child slowly into the world of responsibility and eventual adulthood. This transition happens so quickly, and without warning! One day your child is still considered to be a “kid”, and the next day they have hit puberty and suddenly are beginning to think more like an adult. This can be a confusing time for both teens and their parents. It is not uncommon for teenagers to experience mental health symptoms such as anxiety or depression during such a big life transition. It is also common for teenagers to feel uncomfortable in their skin or experience low self-esteem as they go through puberty and physical changes. If your teen is struggling, it is important for both your teen and for you to know that this can be a normal part of teen development, and you are not alone.

Why Do Parents Seek Therapy for Their Teenager?

Teenagers typically experience one or more of these issues throughout their development. Many teens will not know how to handle some of these life events and transitions, and will lack adequate coping skills. They may continue to try and use strategies that they had learned throughout childhood to cope, and could feel frustrated or lost when they see that these “solutions” no longer work in the same way. Teens also may try other behaviors that they have learned from peers, parents, teachers, etc. to try and work through a difficult situation. While this may work in some situations, it is important for your teen to learn individualized ways to cope with life’s challenges, that can help them specifically.

Seeing a Teen Therapist Can Help

Teen Therapy San Diego, CA Teen Talking in a Session Teen therapy and adolescent counseling can be incredibly helpful for both your teenager and for you. Not only will therapy sessions teach your teen coping skills and strategies for emotional regulation, increased self-esteem, and improved communication skills, but you will also gain a further understanding of how to connect with your child. This is a crucial time for self-discovery, as it occurs right before they leave the “nest” and spread their wings into young adulthood.

Benefits of Effective Teen Counseling Can Include:

What to Expect in a Teen Counseling and Therapy Session?

Teen Counseling San Diego, CA Teen Expressing Herself in Session As a licensed therapist, I will provide a safe space for your teen to process whatever struggles they are currently going through, completely free of judgment. I will continue to remind them that help is available, and there is no shame in seeking therapy as a means to learn more about yourself and live a happier life. Sometimes teenagers just need to feel heard and need to feel like they can completely be themselves — that’s what I’m here for. Your teenager will also learn lasting coping skills that they can utilize for emotional regulation, stress management, improved self-esteem, and to implement healthy communication skills. Treatment for teenagers is a collaborative approach, and you will be somewhat involved as their parent. We may do some family therapy sessions when deemed appropriate, in order to build on communication and help you and your child understand one another better. I will also be available to provide education to you regarding ways that you can understand and support your teen’s current struggles.

Why Book a Teen Therapy Session with Me?

Self emBody Therapy - Sarah Lawley, LMFT Headshot - San Diego, CA 92109 I have worked with teens and their families throughout my career to help with numerous issues and in a variety of treatment settings including school settings, community-based mental health care, residential treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, and private practice. I have helped families reconnect with one another and say “goodbye” to the struggles they had previously been enduring. I have also successfully helped many teens to decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, stress, and eating disorders.

To put it simply, I just love working with teenagers! I feel that this is such a special time in one’s life, and there is immense potential for positive change to be made. I remember working with a very helpful therapist as a teenager that truly changed the trajectory of my self-esteem and my overall life; that is what initially got me interested in becoming a therapist myself, so that I can give this gift back to others. My treatment also has a huge focus on improving self-esteem, which is so important in teen therapy and adolescent counseling. We are setting the stage for the way that your teen is going to view themselves in this world once they are out and on their own, so it’s important to address self-esteem now. When appropriate and with the permission of both you and your teenager, I also implement EMDR therapy into sessions, which has scientifically been proven to be effective in treating past trauma and other mental health issues such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders.

Are you ready to help your teen feel happier, more confident, and more connected to others?

Contact me today to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation and see if teen therapy in San Diego is right for your teen!

My Standard Rate is $150 Per Session (50 Minutes)

I do not accept insurance but I do offer Superbills that can be presented to insurance companies for reimbursement. Learn more about my rates and insurance.

You may have some questions about teen counseling and therapy...

Although there is no one right answer to this question, there are some common instances that could show that teen counseling may be necessary. If your teen struggles with any of the following, teen counseling could be helpful:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Ongoing nightmares or feelings of anxiety, worry or fear
  • Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
  • Preoccupation with their physical appearance (including behaviors such as dieting, overexercise, or any other potential eating disorder
  • Ongoing conflict with peers and/or support figures
  • Changes in patterns of eating or sleeping
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • An inability to concentrate, make decisions, or think clearly
  • A sudden and unexplained decline in grades at school or work performance
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Constant anger or a tendency to overreact to situations
  • And more…
Teenagers and their families often find very quick improvement when working with a licensed therapist because they have learned techniques that they didn’t know before. That feeling of hope can be very motivating and euphoric, and result in the most important element of therapy, which is consistency.
Therapists and psychiatrists have different roles and serve different purposes. People visit a psychiatrist when they are looking to get evaluated for potential psychiatric medications. People see a therapist when they are looking to process emotions, work through a difficult time, identify/improve patterns that create obstacles, or any other reason emotional work would be beneficial. So to answer your question, both can be helpful – but for different reasons. I always recommend starting with a therapist and assess from there whether a psychiatrist referral is necessary. I am connected with other psychiatrists in the community and can provide referrals if we determine that your child may benefit from both therapy and psychiatry.
This is a great question, and it is a question often asked by parents. Teenagers typically don’t know what to do or how to communicate in a clear and productive way when they encounter a new difficult situation that they have not experienced before. It can feel overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating — thus leading to potential outbursts and the impression that your teen is always upset. Teen counseling and therapy can help your teen identify these problematic emotional outbursts, and learn how to self-soothe and better manage their anger and frustration with an improved mindset.
I get this question all of the time, and for good reason. It is absolutely possible that some of your teen’s current frustrations and mood swings could be due to puberty and hormonal changes that are occurring at this time in their lives. Some aspects of this can and do improve on their own over time, simply due to biology. However, even in the cases where it’s mainly hormones that will “fix itself” over time, teen counseling and therapy can assist in the development of healthy behavior patterns and mindsets to improve current struggles and increase the chances of overall satisfaction in life (both currently and in the future). We want to ensure that your teen feels supported during this unique time in their lives, and decreasing feelings of overwhelm and frustration will be essential.

Therapeutic Approaches I Use in Teen Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that examines the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It can help your teen to become more aware of negative thoughts so that they can view difficult situations in a new way, and thus respond to them more effectively. Working to decrease overwhelmed feelings will involve taking a look at the relationship between your teen’s thoughts and emotions, as well as their belief system about themselves and the world. CBT techniques will allow your teen to restructure these thoughts into a more positive way, so that they can view the world differently.

Strength-Based Therapy

Strength-based therapy is a type of positive psychotherapy that focuses on one’s internal strengths and resourcefulness, rather than weaknesses, shortcomings, or failures. I have found great success in using this therapeutic modality with clients, as I feel that it really does us no good to focus on where we feel that we may be lacking in life. I believe that we all have the internal strengths and resources to live the lives that we truly desire — sometimes, it just takes a little bit of help and guidance to realize this. Learning how to utilize your natural strengths can be transformative and can significantly increase overall levels of self-esteem.

Mindfulness Therapy Practices

Mindfulness practices include exercises and therapeutic techniques to help calm our nervous system down, which is essential in reducing symptoms of stress, frustration, anger, etc. Some mindfulness practices include targeted breathing exercises, guided imagery, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. Mindfulness-based practices can be very helpful in decreasing these negative symptoms, as we are training your body’s nervous system to get into a “parasympathetic” (relaxed) state and out of a “sympathetic” (stressed out) state.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) incorporates both cognitive behavioral strategies and mindfulness strategies. DBT can help clients increase their ability to tolerate distressing emotions and high levels of stress, gain further strategies to reframe negative thought patterns, and implement helpful mindfulness practices into their daily lives. DBT skills are taught by the therapist and clients can utilize them in between sessions to help self-soothe and tolerate overwhelming emotions.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a therapeutic modality that focuses on solutions and what has worked in the past. Instead of examining negative patterns or identifying “problems”, SFBT promotes solution-oriented and positive thinking that is so beneficial for the decreased self-esteem and repeated frustrations that are so often experienced throughout childhood.
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Teen Therapy in San Diego, CA

If you and your teen want to break free from your current struggles and would like to learn more about my teen therapy services, please use the button above or call (619) 800-5393 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Self emBody Therapy
EMDR, Eating Disorders, Anxiety
4444 Mission Blvd Suite H,
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 800-5393