Lauren Morton, LCSW
Adolescence is a tumultuous time – for both parents and teens! The combination of physical and emotional changes that an adolescent undergoes, together with family, school, social, and societal pressures can lead teens to experience feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, and to engage in risky behaviors and substance use. Many teens struggle with body image, identity, moods, peer pressure, self-esteem, stress, and an overwhelming desire to “fit in”.
Therapy can teach adolescents helpful coping skills so they can effectively manage their emotions rather than internalize their feelings or behave in a rebellious or destructive manner. Having a safe space outside of home and school to explore and process their feelings allows teens to confront what is bothering them and make lasting change. Counseling can also help concerned and frustrated parents better understand their adolescent and improve communication within the family system.
Counseling is appropriate for teens struggling with:
- anxiety, frequent worrying
- body image
- defiance/oppositional behaviors
- depression, sadness
- difficulty making or keeping friends
- family conflict
- identity issues (gender, sexual orientation)
- life changes (divorce, moving)
- mood swings and behavioral changes
- restricted or unhealthy eating patterns
- self esteem
- social anxiety
- stress management
- substance use
I help teens:
- learn strategies to reduce anxiety and depression
- develop healthy coping skills to manage stress
- reduce or eliminate self destructive behaviors
- improve relationships with parents and peers
- process difficult and confusing feelings
- learn how to manage anger or control impulsive behavior
- improve self-esteem and confidence
I help parents:
- understand their teenager better
- create a closer, more trusting relationship with their child
- set appropriate limits and consequences for misbehavior
- reduce conflict with their teen through discussion and healthy communication
My approach in working with teens is simple – the relationship is EVERYTHING! I have been successful in engaging even the most resistant adolescents with an easy going, genuine and caring therapeutic style. I integrate behavioral tools to provide teens with concrete ways of managing anxiety, depression and overwhelming emotions, and work to increase awareness of how their behavior and choices impact themselves and others in their lives. The opportunity to confide in a safe, trusted, non-judgmental adult during adolescence allows teens to make more responsible decisions, process difficult feelings and receive invaluable guidance and support.
The teen years do not have be as challenging as they appear. If your teen is struggling, please call to see if I could be of help.
A message to teens:
Many teenagers are reluctant to go to counseling. They are unsure what to expect, what they are supposed to talk about and what the point of talking to a stranger is. In case you are wondering why you might want to attend counseling and what you can expect from therapy, I invite you to read below:
No, you do not need to lay on the couch and tell your life story (although you are welcome to!). Instead, counseling is a safe, confidential place for you to discuss any concerns, feelings, fears, experiences, or frustrations you may have. You are not “crazy” if you need therapy and lots of people participate in therapy at various times of their lives and many enjoy having a nonjudgmental individual to talk to. Being a teenager is stressful, and it can be difficult to talk to your parents and other adults about certain topics and to trust your friends at times. I have been working with teenagers for more than a decade and have been told by many that I have helped them improve their relationships with their parents, feel more confident, happier and less stressed. Many have appreciated having a new perspective or someone to listen to them during tough times. They have felt that I have provided them with the skills to improve themselves, reduce their worries and to better cope with their moods, feelings and relationships.
My goal in counseling is to respect, support and help you – not lecture, “fix” or blame you. I am simply interested in assisting you through difficult times. I assure you I am not on a “team” with your parents or your school, and I am legally required to keep our conversations confidential except in certain circumstances which I will discuss at our first meeting. Hopefully, you will consider meeting me to determine whether I could be a good fit and someone you would feel comfortable working with.