Counseling for Adolescents

Counseling for Adolescents

Lansing Counseling Provides Counseling Services to All Ages, Including Adolescents


At Lansing Counseling, we offer counseling to patients of all ages. Adolescents in particular are at a unique stage in life in which they may be struggling with a variety of issues. Our licensed counselors, therapists, and social workers in East Lansing, MI are available to help guide adolescents as they navigate through this complex time.

This page will discuss the nature of the complexities of adolescence, the many factors that can occur during this phase of life, and how Lansing Counseling can help individuals at this age through specialized treatment.

What Exactly Is An Adolescent?


This question may seem to have an obvious answer, but many people consider adolescence to be all sorts of different age ranges… and that may be true, as different individuals mature at various paces; it is a very unique time of life, and quite frankly often an awkward one. According to the World Health Organization as well as several other reliable sources, adolescence begins with the onset of physiologically normal puberty, and ends when an adult identity and behaviour are accepted. This period of development corresponds roughly to the period between the ages of 10 and 19 years. However, science has shown that the adult brain is not considered fully developed until the age of 25. That is certainly a long period of time, and therefore a huge range of issues that a person will likely struggle with at various stages as they develop. Seeking counseling during these years, as needed when struggling with any issue, can help an adolescent develop into a healthy adult.


Stages of Adolescence


The most easily understood definition of adolescence is that it is the period of transition between childhood and adulthood. However, in that period there are various stages:


Early Adolescence (Ages 10-13)


During this first stage, children begin to grow more quickly. They begin

to notice different body changes (this often begins a year or two earlier

for females than males). Children at this age also tend to think in “black and white,” meaning that something is either wonderful or terrible. This can create a lot of confusion and anxiety. If your child is at this stage and beginning to show signs of struggle, counseling may be a good option to address any issues as early as possible.


Middle Adolescence (Ages 14-17)


During this stage, the body continues to grow as puberty changes

continue, and there are many more physical changes as well. Teens at

this stage often start having romantic feelings, and may become frustrated more easily; they may argue more with their parents, act rebellious in certain ways, etc… mostly because they do not know how to cope with the fast moving changes within both their body and mind. This is likely the most common stage for an adolescent to seek out counseling to help contain what very well might feel out of control.


Late Adolescence (Ages 18-21)


At this stage, adolescents have usually finished growing physically and may have matured and have better impulse control than in earlier stages. They may have a stronger sense of individuality, and feel more confident in their decisions. However, even at this stage and especially depending on if they struggled a lot and whether or not they received help if needed at early stages, counseling can be just as helpful at this point in the growth process.


Should My Adolescent Seek Counseling?


It may be a tough decision for parents to decide if counseling is the best idea for their adolescent (especially if their child is resistant, which can often be the case). However, having your adolescent come to therapy can provide a safe place to explore the frustrations, confusion, awkwardness, and emotional turmoil that many go through. Sometimes just talking out these frustrations, at any stage of adolescence, through therapy can help alleviate some of the struggles and can certainly assure them that they are not alone in what they are going through.


Ten Reasons Adolescents Seek Therapy 


While there are certainly more than ten reasons adolescents, or anyone for that matter, often seek therapy, here are ten that experts tend to see the most:




Mood disorders often start during the teen years. If left untreated, depression can last into adulthood, and can even worsen resulting in destructive behaviors. If your adolescent seems irritable, sad, and withdrawn, counseling may be the best option and very well may save them from further struggle later in life. An accurate diagnosis and early intervention are key components of effective treatment.


Anxiety Disorders 


While it’s normal for teens to worry sometimes, some adolescents experience intense anxiety. Anxiety disorders can interfere with many different aspects of  life, including friendships and academics among other areas. There is a big difference between normal worry and actual anxiety, which can be extremely debilitating.


Whether your adolescent has difficulty speaking in front of the class, or  constantly worries bad things are going to happen, therapy could help learn how to manage a variety of symptoms.


Behavior Problems 


Suspensions from school, repeat curfew violations, and aggressive behavior may be symptoms of more serious problems. A therapist could help uncover potential mental health issues, any possible skill deficits, or social problems that may be driving your adolescent’s behavior.


Substance Abuse Issues 


Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol, and other substances can become serious problems for adolescents…  sadly, even in the early stages. A licensed counselor can address/assess substance use and help determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Individual therapy, group therapy, detox, or residential treatment may be options depending on the severity of substance abuse problems.

Stealing, underage drinking, or fighting are just a few of the reasons adolescents get into trouble with the law. Therapy can help in learning how to make healthier choices so that further legal issues can be prevented.




At any/ all of the stages, adolescents can easily get stressed out. Whether it’s the pressure to perform well on an exam or concerns over what to do after high school, stress can take a serious toll. Therapy can help in learning skills to manage stress successfully, which is something that will serve them well throughout their lives.


School and Social-Related Issues 


Bullies, failing grades, cliques, and teacher-related issues are just a few of the social-related problems many adolescents often experience. Therapy can provide them with support and give them skills that will help them navigate high school (and other stages of life) successfully.


Low Self-Esteem 


While most adolescents struggle with self-confidence issues at one time or another (or at multiple stages), some experience serious self-esteem issues. If those types of issues are left unaddressed, they are at a higher risk of developing problems such as substance abuse and academic failure, etc. Therapy can help boost an adolescent’s self-esteem.




Whether it’s a near-death experience or a sexual assault, or even something less extreme, traumatic events can have a lifelong impact on anyone. Therapy can increase resilience and reduce the impact the traumatic event has on an adolescent’s life.




Due to the difference in their level of brain development, adolescents deal with grief a little differently than adults, and the loss of a loved one can be especially difficult during this time of life. Individual, family, or group therapy can help adolescents sort out their feelings and make sense of their loss.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, formerly called ADD)


One of the most common issues in adolescents is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD used to be called ADD, but in the DSM-5 is now called ADHD. It can be diagnosed in three ways:

  • ADHD, predominantly inattentive type (these people struggle most with attention)
  • ADHD predominantly hyperactive type (these people struggle most with difficulty controlling their behavior)
  • ADHD combined presentation (these people struggle both with attention as well as hyperactive behavior).

Your adolescent may be experiencing ADHD if they are struggling to stay in task at school, getting in trouble for not remaining seated throughout the day, or several other similar reasons. It is important to determine whether the adolescent’s struggles are in one context only (context dependent) or in multiple contexts (multiple contexts are required for a diagnosis of ADHD).

Though ADHD is often treated with medication, psychotherapy and counseling can be an important concurrent course of treatment to help your adolescent thrive in school and in life.


What If My Adolescent Refuses Therapy?


It is no secret that depending on the stage of adolescence, they very well may become defiant and refuse to seek help, even if it is clearly needed for any or more of the above listed issues. It could cause embarrassment, a stigma that seeking help means they are completely messed up, etc… but the truth is that seeking help is OK and must be normalized and de-stigmatized. There are several resources you can turn to for help in encouraging your adolescent to feel that it’s OK to get help.


Help is Here. Lansing Counseling offers Counseling For Adolescents


At Lansing Counseling, we are happy to help your adolescent- at any stage, with any issue. We will provide a welcoming environment where they can feel safe and at ease. Feel free to call us: (517) 333-1499, email: [email protected], to learn more about our adolescent and teen counseling services in East Lansing or fill out the form below to schedule an appointment.


Lansing Counseling

5030 Northwind Dr Suite 101
East Lansing, MI 48823

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