You’re not exactly sure when it happened, but over the last few months, your typically happy-go-lucky child hasn’t been him/herself.
You just know things aren’t right. You wonder, are they depressed? Suffering from anxiety? Struggling with peer pressure?
Or, is it just a phase that doesn’t warrant the help of a licensed professional counselor?
Here are five signs that may point toward the need for the involvement of a licensed professional counselor.
1.The behaviors have persisted for several months.
Let’s face it, adolescence is hard. Peer pressure, more difficult schoolwork and the increasing awareness of life’s typical struggles are all part of growing up. Social media, homework and other stressors all play a role in the anxiety children face. Unfortunately, it’s the norm.
However, if you’ve noticed your child is feeling anxious and depressed for several months with little reprieve, it’s time to seek outside therapy.
2.Withdrawing from life
If you find your child doesn’t want to participate in activities he or she used to enjoy, and instead spends a lot of time in the bedroom alone, this is a red flag. Depression or another mental health issue may be at play.
Increased sleepiness (or inability to sleep) are other clear signs something may be going on and therapy may be needed.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of treatment, has been scientifically proven to help with the issues underlying these behaviors.
3.You’ve noticed your child is partaking in self-harming behavior
If your child is cutting, has suicidal ideation or engaging in other self-harming behaviors, therapy is strongly recommended. These are clear signs that something deeper may be going on.
Professional therapists are trained to help with self-harming behavior and these episodes should be taken very seriously.
4.You’re concerned they’re abusing drugs, alcohol or food on a regular basis
Experimentation with drugs and alcohol can be part of adolescence. It’s quite possible your child may dabble with recreational drugs at some point.
However, if there’s a switch to abusing drugs and / or alcohol on a regular basis or notice their grades are slipping, it might be time to seek help.
One sign that this could be happening is a sudden shift in friendships.
5.A traumatic event
Unexpected events can leave children feeling raw and scared. If your child is a victim of a crime, chronic illness or traumatic event, it’s crucial to quickly employ counseling in order to implement healthy coping strategies.
We frequently want to wait it out to see if issues resolve themselves This is often the case, and guidance from school personnel like a counselor or psychologist can be enough to do the trick.
That said, it’s important to recognize when therapy is needed. Hopefully, the signs discussed above will help to make this determination.
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