Adolescent & Teen Issues

Adolescents are at a time in their lives when they are experiencing significant changes and can be under a lot of pressure. Friends, school, and family issues are just some of the many things that are on their minds. These pressures can show themselves in a variety of ways, and can cause teens to act out, become withdrawn, or show other signs of frustration, anxiety, or depression. Some youth may even be facing serious mental health issues or disorders.

In the process of growing from a child to an adult, most teens will have trouble coping at some time, or they may exhibit behaviours which are of concern to their parents, family members, or teachers. Depending on their home or school situation some adolescents may face more problems than others. Some youth may be facing psychological disorders that parents may not notice or do not want to acknowledge.

Teens may have experienced traumatic situations that can seriously affect their ability to cope and have a strong affect n their mental wellness.


  • Abuse (emotional, physical or sexual)
  • Bullying
  • Communication difficulties
  • Divorce and separation
  • Extended family difficulties
  • Learning disorders
  • Loss of a loved one or pet
  • Mixed family Issues
  • Peer pressure
  • Peer relationships
  • Pressure to perform (in school, on the stage, or on the sports fields)
  • Sexual Issues
  • Sibling rivalry


Emotional symptoms

  • Symptoms of overwhelming anxiety
  • Symptoms of depression
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trouble performing in school
  • False sense of bravado
  • Mood changes
  • Behaviour changes
  • A sudden change in marks or performance
  • Damaging behaviour (to self, others or property)
  • Acting withdrawn – spending a lot of time alone
  • Lack of interest in the world around them
  • Trouble with the law or at school

Physical symptoms

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Lack of concentration
  • Headaches
  • Frequent stomach aches
  • Self harm
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Common physical symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Substance use


If you notice your child is exhibiting some of the symptoms listed above, and their daily activities are being affected, or if you notice mood or personality changes, see their marks suddenly drop or a decline in their performance on sports teams or at other activities, are alerted by a teacher or coach’s concerns, or if your child just seems to be “off’ it may be time to seek help.


There are several effective treatment methods for treating the mental health challenges that teens may face. The therapist will discuss the best options for each individual’s circumstance. Some treatment methods that are typically successful in treating adolescents include:

  • Psychotherapy is a broad term that encompasses numerous styles of therapy and employs verbal or nonverbal communication with a client to help treat psychiatric problems, behavioral issues, personality disorders, and various other types of emotional distress. This form of personal counselling is based on an interpersonal relationship, as opposed to the alternative chemical or physical forms of therapy. As the therapist creates dialogue, you are able to learn more about your moods, behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Understanding these factors helps you to control your life and handle certain situations healthily.
  • Mindfulness Therapy combines cognitive behaviour therapy with meditation techniques. It was originally used to treat depression, it has shown to be effective in the treatment of other conditions as well. Clients use mindfulness techniques to interrupt thoughts and automatic body processes (sleep disturbances, for example). This type of therapy helps clients to see that their thoughts can become their reality and they are taught how to disengage from negative thoughts and thought patterns.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence based approach to treatment that focuses on how your thoughts, emotions and beliefs influence your behaviour and how you perceive yourself, others and the world. CBT has been shown to be effective in dealing with anxiety because it helps you to change those negative thoughts, feelings, emotions and projections on a subject matter or circumstance and help you to learn more effective ways of dealing with your anxiety. This approach uses sound techniques to slow down, halt and eliminate your own learned reactions. Ultimately, CBT deals with those circumstances and events that you’re aware of, rather than dealing with circumstances and events relating to your unconscious. Through a sound therapeutic process, you’ll learn to respond differently to issues and circumstances, and you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms.


Getting to the root of the issue is the first step in helping your teen work through the stressors, challenges and/or traumatic situations they may be experiencing. Meeting with a psychologist who specializes in adolescent and teen issues is a great first step to determine the best types of therapy for your child. Our child psychologists also treat children after traumatic events. If the child has just lost a parent or family member, or has been abused, it is advisable to have them see a psychologist. Professional help will allow teens who are struggling to process the traumatic event (if there is one)  and transition into the new changes in their life.

Insight has many therapists that can support you on this journey. You can book online or call us to set up an appointment for counselling  – in-person, online (video), or telephone.