Teens: Is Therapy The New Place To Be?

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    For kids, no one ever tells them that they are going to experience any trauma or heartbreak growing up. All they know is   given sayings like “sharing is caring!” or to be careful on the blacktop during recess. But in high school, it has almost become a normal thing for  students to go to therapy nowadays. It seems that more and more high school students find themselves scheduling meetings with their therapist after school or on the weekends. Why is this? Is therapy the new place to be for high school students or is there an actual reason for going? 

 It would seem that in the age of social media, cyberbullying, and high expectations that teenagers have a lot on their minds.  To really understand what goes on in a high school student’s mind is to know that it can be a maze at times. {Every high school student knows that  getting through the grueling four years may end with some scars and mortifying memories along the way.} 

For me, it was my first day of highschool and I went to a sculpting class for seniors by accident. I had stayed in there for at least five minutes before realizing I was not on the roster.   The first two years of my high school experience came and went with my only worries being forgetting my P.E. locker combination and getting to class on time. Junior and senior year became more complex as my mind gradually became a landmine full of fears and irritations. (Everything started to evolve from acting and thinking like a kid to stressing and feeling emotions like an adult.) The world around me seemed to go faster and to become more expressive in the sense that I was understanding what growing up actually meant. Around this age, our lives take a turn for the better and for the worse as we start to discover the effects of heartbreak, death of a relative, and disappointment. 

It’s just that with so many teenagers coming out with different issues and mental disorders and going to therapy, it seems skeptical if it’s a trend for other teens to follow. For some, this could be  a way of feeling accepted whether a young adult has or does not have a reason for going. Usually, reasons for going  can be from some sort of trauma or a recent diagnosis {drug abuse, eating disorders, living conditions, etc.} It then is  from  a change in mental stability  or triggered emotions/thoughts that teens cope in different ways. For example, suffering heartbreak after a loved one has passed or no longer being in an (intimate) relationship with someone.  

 However, there’s another factor that should be mentioned. It has been scientifically proven and debated for almost an entire decade that social media and cyberbullying have a massive role in  teenagers’ lives. Yet, the internet places high expectations while news posts are constantly coming causing standards in the status quo. This is the most likely reason why so many teenagers are experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress  resulting in others {parent(s), guardians or teachers} looking to help. In an 2019 article on pewresearch.org, written by A.W. Geiger and Leslie Davis, there was a survey listed that discussed depression in pre-teens and teens in America that listed over 10% had experienced depression. According to pyschcentral.com, there was an article by Rick Nauert PhD who dove into  a 2017 study about anxiety found in young adult girls, “Over 67 percent of respondents reported seeking care in these clinics 2017-18 vs. 58.1 percent in 2005-06.”  Therefore, that teen is then set up with an appointment with a therapist or a counselor  and may or may not continue going to sessions.

  I have come to notice that individuals both online and off  who come across as  mentally “flawed” and self -deprecating are typically the ones who  become role-models for young adults. They then find that being an adult means that they are  supposed to have  a therapist and  are destined to go through negative aspects of life. As this is beginning to be the norm of society, it results in  these young adults  becoming a bandwagon for a chance to escape “survival of the fittest” of  not being “flawed” or have the same experiences as him/hers role model.  But the question of why teenagers find themselves going is still left in the dark. So with no better way of getting an answer I asked fellow Golden Valley students their thoughts;

Student Jadyn Aran said, “I can only really speak from personal experience, but I believe no one is really proud to go to therapy, it’s not something people usually boast about. So no, I don’t think people are going because everyone else is. The mental issues that people are going to therapy for have always existed. They were never accepted as a real problem until the 2000’s. We as a generation have started an open conversation about mental health and I believe more teens are going to therapy because they feel safe enough too. Not because it’s a trend.”

 11 grade student AJ Thomas said, “Therapy should be a safe place to get help and discuss, understand what teenagers are feeling at the moment.”

 12 grade student Jesse Cabitac shared his opinion, “When I hear therapy, I think of something that is in need of help and support. i.e. someone that is recovering from a person that has recently died or someone that is in financial debt or marriage problems. All of those differ but I feel like for myself, therapy is good. ONLY Temporary. This can be debated for obvious reasons. It’s also not a good solution because of the fact that going into therapy costs a lot of money. You combined those together and therapy cannot be well worth it for the reasons above. Nonetheless there are also alternatives like talking to a best friend, family members, etc. So I would think the solution is to talk to your family instead of therapy. My personal solution would be going to Christ and asking for help and healing.”

Whether or not one may have an actual and serious reason behind going to therapy, it is always important to know that at least there is someone out there to talk to. No matter how big an issue may be, just by talking to someone {a family member or professional shrink}, can lift a weight off one’s shoulder. But it is also important not to go purely  because other people are going. 

Everyone has different stories and reasonings for going.  In order to really heal from any bad experience or trauma requires the first step in addressing the problem and sharing it to someone about it.  At the end of the day, therapy may not be a “new trend” or “the new place to be for young adults” but it is there if needed.