Teen Psychotherapy Treatment: They’re Not All the Same

When you hear of teen psychotherapy treatment, you might imagine sitting on a couch. You start talking about your life concerns sitting across from a compassionate mental health professional, who is listening and responding to you.

Individual therapy most certainly fits this image. However, the way that a therapist responds to and treats your concerns can indicate the type of therapy you’re participating in.

There are two major groups of teen psychotherapy treatment.

  1. Those that promote insight or revelation regarding your thought pattern, history, behavior, or life choices are insight therapies. They are typically concerned with the causes of your behavior and choices.
  2. On the other hand, those therapies that focus on how a disorder manifests in your life and aim to teach new forms of behavior, decision making, or thought patterns is learning-based or cognitive therapies. These therapies are not so concerned with causes as they are with making change to patterns of thinking, feeling, or behaving.


Insight Therapy

The most common form of insight therapy is psychoanalysis, by Freud, and likely the source of the image described above. In psychoanalysis, there are certain techniques for the underlying concerns that might be leading to your distress. For instance, if you continue to have trouble with maintaining financial stability, perhaps there is a deep belief in unworthiness stemming from a childhood trauma. Psychoanalysis would safely attempt to bring those childhood memories to the surface in order to promote further understanding of who you are and why you do the things you do. Other ways to access insight in psychoanalysis is through dream analysis and exploring themes that are present in your life.


Learning-Based / Cognitive Therapies


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT essentially aims to change behavior by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns. This successful form of therapy emphasizes the link between thoughts, feelings, and behavior. More importantly, it attempts to identify the way that certain thoughts contribute to the unique problems of your life. By changing the thought pattern and by replacing it with thoughts that are aimed towards a specific therapeutic goal, you can slowly begin to change. For example, instead of “I am worthless”; the new thought might be “I can do this”.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

DBT is a form of behavioral therapy that teaches the skills you need to move closer to your life goals. And assists them in integrating those skills into everyday life. The therapy is a compassionate form of treatment method that can bring meaning into your life. Most specifically, DBT teaches skills to cope with challenging life circumstances in order to replace the self-defeating, dysfunctional coping mechanisms with healthier ones.

You might experience DBT in both individual therapy as well as group therapy. However, one significant aspect of this treatment method is to participate in a 16-week Skills Group. It’s the venue for learning the necessary life skills that make DBT so effective. The Skills Group typically meets for 90 minutes once per week. While individual therapy or group therapy can take place once to twice per week. It focuses on sharpening skills and integrating them into daily life.

DBT can promote understanding and managing overwhelming emotions, dealing with difficult people in life. Which  includes parents, learning more effective ways of coping with stress, and improving relationships.


Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy aims to ease anxiety and fear by deliberately and safely exposing clients to the places and objects that are stimulating. This form of therapy is a type of behavior modification therapy. It relies on the premise that your surrounding circumstances are more relevant than your early childhood experiences or inner psychological wound. Through Exposure Therapy you would be repeatedly exposed to a fear-related stimulus with the aim to reduce the level of fear each time. Where eventually getting to the elimination of fear even when in the presence of the stimulus.


Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy was developed by Albert Ellis. It’s the idea that your cognitive interpretations of events and surroundings are the root of emotional turmoil. For this reason, this type of therapy focuses on the immediate interpretation of events in your environment.


These are only a few of the various forms of teen psychotherapy treatment. If you are interested in participating in individual or group therapy, know that you don’t necessarily need a diagnosis. Therapy can be a form of preventing stress and having a strong network of support. If you decide to participate in therapy, the choices you have are many. It can be from feminine-based therapy to person-centered therapy and more.