The teenage mental health crisis is rising, leaving parents concerned about their teen’s emotional health. It is common for youth to refuse therapy, so how can you help your teen without counseling?
It’s important to better understand why your troubled teen is reluctant to speak with a therapist. There can be several reasons, including the stigma of needing help for mental wellness.
Other reasons teens might refuse therapy is:
- They don’t think they need it; they believe they are fine the way they are.
- They believe the therapist or counselor will make them take medicine.
- They don’t believe therapy or medicine will work.
- They may have tried it when they were younger, and didn’t like it.
- They are feeling hopeless, and simply don’t want to try.
5 Ways to Help Your Troubled Teen That Refuses Therapy
1. Certified Teen Life Coach: As parents grow more desperate to get help for their troubled teenagers, Certified Teen Life Coaches have been able to fill a void as an option for some families. The mental health crisis is not diminishing anytime soon, it’s time to learn about all resources available to us to get adolescents the treatment they need.
Marissa Terron, founder of Families in Need of Direction – Therapeutic Life Coaching, (F.I.N.D.-TLC) and a Certified Teen Life Coach, works with many adolescents (tweens and teens) and shares that although most have refused to attend counseling sessions, some simply preferred the style of a life coach for emotional support.
Teen Life Coaching also requires the parent(s) to be involved privately or as a whole to learn new strategies that will help them continue supporting their teen as they work through their issues, set and achieve goals and move toward a brighter and productive future.
2. Animal Therapy: Animal therapy has been proven beneficial for youth struggling with trauma (PTSD) and develop coping skills for anger and stress management. Research has shown when troubled teens work with dogs, horses, and/or most animals, especially if they are involved with training a pet, it can help reduce a person’s anxiety as well as help those suffering with PTSD and reactive attachment disorder (RAD).
When working with animals, specifically therapy dogs, they are trained to be attentive to a person’s needs and offer unconditional love therefore helping with teen depression. This can often help stabilize intense emotions and allows your teen to express themselves without fear of judgment.
3. Art Therapy: Studies suggest that art therapy can be very valuable in treating issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTDS) and even some phobias. It is a great way to express your emotions without words, process complex feelings and find relief.
Clinical art therapy can be effective for adolescents who usually see it as a nonthreatening form of treatment. The art that the adolescent produces can help the therapist gain some idea of the youth’s concerns and life circumstances, especially those situations that are too risky to reveal or too personally embarrassing to relate. This awareness better equips the therapist in efforts to protect and support the adolescent during this turbulent time of life.
4. Gardening (Horticulture) Therapy: Gardening can make you feel more peaceful and content. Focusing your attention on the immediate tasks and details of gardening can reduce negative thoughts and feelings and can make you feel better in the moment. Just spending time around plants eases stress for many people.
Self-esteem is how much you value and feel positively about yourself. Helping a plant grow is a big feat. When you see your work pay off with healthy plants, your sense of pride gets a boost. By building self-confidence, your teen will make better choices.
5. Music Therapy: Research shares that music therapy has had the power to help teens overcome chronic depression music therapy increases communication, socialization and memory in children and teens. Because music therapy bridges the gap between art and science, and the artistic nature of the therapy allows teenagers to open up and explore their feelings. It also helps them cope with their mental health issues.
Music therapy provides teens with a positive, creative, and fun outlet. They can build a strong identity of themselves focused on who they can become versus their past choices. Teens involved in music therapy will also be discovering new interests and perhaps even a greater talent that needs to be nurtured.
Animal, art, horticulture and music therapy are typically offered in residential treatment in addition to talk therapy. These therapies are excellent alternatives to help reach your teenager that is refusing talk therapy at home.