Category Archives: Teen Counseling

Why Teens Self-Harm

Why Does Your Teen Self Harm

Cutting, burning, and other forms of self-injury are a commonplace among American teenagers. There is no way to truly predict how many teens self-harm because most kids work hard to conceal their injuries. If your child is deliberately hurting himself or herself, you may feel shock, disappointment, fear, or confusion. Understanding why teens self-harm will give you greater insight into the struggles your child is facing, and it will help you seek the help your teen needs now.

Self-Harm For Pleasure

The most common reason why teens self-harm is to cope with overwhelming emotions. Acts of self-injury temporarily release endorphins, opioids, and serotonin in a child’s brain, providing a sense of pleasure before the pain hits. Some people naturally feel more pleasure from cutting or burning than others, so your child may be using this as a tool to balance out negative emotions in his life.

Self-Harm For Punishment

Another reason why teens self-harm is because they feel like they deserve to be punished. For instance, a child who is constantly bullied at school may start to believe he is as worthless as the bullies claim he is. If your child’s grade slip due to emotional struggles, he may self-harm as punishment for disappointing you. Teenagers go through extreme hormonal changes that greatly impact their ability to process their emotions. Self-injury is just a potential byproduct of this turmoil.

Self-Harm For Communication

If a child is not getting the attention he or she needs, he or she may self-harm to signify the severity of his or her emotions. This does not mean that the root emotions are not real and are not worthy of concern. Those who go through with the self-injury typically have emotions that need to be addressed. You need to search for the deeper meaning behind the action and seek help.

Self-Harm For Suicide

Sadly, many teens use self-harm to attempt suicide. This is not to say that every act of self-injury is a suicide attempt. That is far from the case. Nevertheless, a deeper-than-usual cut on your child’s wrist may be an effort to end his or her life. This is why it is important to seek help at the early stages of self-harm, when possible, to conquer your teen’s struggles as quickly as possible.

Getting Your Teen The Help He Or She Needs

If your child is committing self-harm or you suspect he or she may try in the future, work with a teen counselor to tackle the emotions together. Your teen will speak to a counselor on an individual basis and in family counseling sessions with you and your spouse so you can all work toward a plan for recovery. Approach this process with an open mind, and you may be surprised by how much you learn about your child along the way.

Parenting The Troubled Teen

Teenager Looking Upset

When a teen we know is troubled and/or out of control, it’s easy to become reactive. The teen is an unpleasant person to be around. As a parent, teacher or family friend, it is tempting to avoid interacting with them or to become combative (and assert our authority) in return.

Even if we approach things in a proactive way, we may end up focusing mainly on behavior and consequences. However, a more balanced approach may be more effective. Attention is needed on behavior issues, but think also in terms of building and maintaining a relationship with this teen. Be the first to restore good feelings between you. The teen may not respond at first, but you may provide a bridge for them to cross—a lifeline.

As a therapist who has experience working with troubled teens, here are a few coping strategies that I have found to be helpful for many.

  1. Have rituals. Family customs provide connection and therefore predictability and a sense of belonging. Teens may seem disinterested, but established routines cement the feeling that they belong to something bigger than themselves. Family dinners, weekly game night, vacationing each year, apple picking each fall are examples of these.
  2. Have fun together one-on-one with your teen. Focused attention may be the greatest need of teenagers. Find what you both enjoy doing together. Be proactive and put it on the calendar.
  3. Have family meetings and allow your teen’s input. Keep family meetings short and light. Avoid lectures or shouting matches. Focus on solutions rather than blaming.
  4. Be a good role model. Controlling your own temper and computer time may make a greater impact than words. Apologize when you blow it. Seek help from a pastor, support group or therapist if you are struggling with the demands of life.
  5. Include supportive people in your teen’s life. Consider extended family, church family and close friends as part of your family. Grandparents are usually great at giving a teen time, patience, acceptance and unconditional love. Also, a coach, teacher or youth pastor may be a mentor to your teen.
  6. Be the parent, not their buddy. Looking for your teen’s approval or needing their friendship can tempt you to avoid conflict and not be firm when your teen needs you to be.
  7. Keep a positive attitude. Don’t become obsessed with their troubling behavior. Look for their positive intentions even when they disappoint you. Focus on what your teen does right.
  8. Find ways that your teen would enjoy helping others. A teen can experience increased self-esteem from volunteering at places like an animal shelter, a nursing home, homeless shelter, or in the church nursery.
  9. Take care of yourself, your spouse, your marriage, and your other children. Try not to let this one family member monopolize all the family’s energy and attention.
  10. Find something meaningful to hold onto. Many use their faith. Others may use art, inspirational quotes or family photographs to help ground them when life feels chaotic.

As overwhelming as parenting a troubled teen may be, there is hope. At Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers, we specialize in counseling teens and their families. We offer individual counseling, family counseling and group counseling. We have groups just for teens: Social Skills, Self-Injury, Self-Control, Self-Esteem, Motivation, Depression, Anxiety and the Teen E.D.G.E. group (Exploring, Discovering, Goal-Setting, Excelling) that may be a good fit for your teen. Please contact Perspectives of Troy Counseling Centers at 248-244-8644 to set up an appointment.

by Melanie Bonello, MA, LPC

Family Dinners Help Treat Teen Eating Disorders

Teenage Family Eating Lunch Together In Kitchen

Peer pressure and societal influences can cause many teens to feel insecure about their bodies. Even the fittest of teenagers may feel ugly or not good enough for the modern world. This emotional turmoil often leads to the development of eating disorders, like anorexia, bulimia, or food addiction.

If you are concerned about your teen, something as simple as eating dinner together as a family could be used as a treatment method to get your child back on a healthy track. A new study from Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital shows that integrating family dinners into teen eating disorder treatment can make therapy far more effective. Psychiatrist James Lock, MD says, “Research at Stanford and elsewhere has shown that parents can play a big role in helping their teens recover from eating disorders. For example, we have demonstrated that a specific family-based therapy is twice as effective as individual psychotherapy for treating anorexia nervosa.”

Signs Of Teen Eating Disorders

Here are some eating disorder symptoms to watch for in your teen so you know when to seek treatment:

  • Vomiting, Usually After Eating
  • Eating Little To No Food Throughout The Day
  • Large Volumes Of Food Missing From The Kitchen Or Refrigerator
  • Increased Irritability And Emotional Mood Swings
  • Sudden Changes In Eating Patterns
  • Increased Time In Front Of The Mirror
  • Comments Of Self-Loathing, Especially With Regard To Weight
  • Constant Comparison To Others Based On Physical Appearances
  • Refusing To Eat With The Family

If your teenager is exemplifying any of these signs, talk to a psychologist near you to schedule an evaluation. Patients in the Detroit Metro area may contact Perspectives Of Troy at (248) 244-8644 to set up a time for psychological testing.

Using Family Dinners To Fight Teen Eating Disorders

Family dinners provide the perfect platform for you to bond with your children. This bond helps your teen see that he or she has a support system, which will play a crucial role in fighting off negative emotions. Rather than feeling alone, hopeless, and disconnected, your teen may look to family time for comfort and guidance. Parents with a particularly strong connection with their teens are often able to discuss the underlying issues with their children and come up with solutions to cope. For instance, an overweight teen who feels worthless because of his size could join the wrestling team or football team to work out and put that size to good use.

Sadly, family dinners may not be enough to fully prevent your child from developing an eating disorder. Consider teen counseling as another alternative to help your teenager in this tough time of life. With the right support, your child can maintain a healthy lifestyle and start to enjoy the positive side of life once again. Remember, “You Need Not Walk Alone”.   Call us at: 248.244.8644 and a Specialist in the treatment of Eating Disorders will help your family.

Create Your Own Success

Create Your Own Success

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Looking beyond the predetermined concept of destiny is essential to succeed in life. It is crucial that an individual stops searching and expecting the world and the faraway stars to align and conspire her victory in a chaotic world of competition, stress, and anxiety. If you have been searching for fulfillment and success in life, the secret lies in exploring within and not outside.

The primary step towards finding and honing success is to become aware and understand your perspectives in life. Evaluating the perspectives will help you comprehend whether any of them needs alteration or modification. On the other hand, deciding on the objective of your life is equally significant. Identifying the goal or even envisioning a distant idea of a goal is necessary to pursue it fervently.

The Importance Of Perspectives

It is equally imperative to take an impartial view of your existing life. If you feel bewildered with the tumultuous emotions and varying circumstances, a trained counselor can help you recognize the problem areas, identify the issues, and take effective steps to sort out the confusion. There are different types of therapy to meet your psychological demands. Starting from depression therapy, premarital and couples counseling, teen counseling, anxiety disorder counseling, and personalized therapies can help you move beyond the emotional obstacle that is blocking your path to your own success.

The routine therapy sessions will help you unlock the various emotional tools and utilize them to make the most of your life. You can start refocusing your life by regularly taking some time to express gratitude towards your loved ones. Therapy will teach you to cultivate positive relationships in personal as well as professional fields. Indulge yourself with interesting hobbies that fascinates and captivates you to learn and unlearn at the same time. Exploration of new places and concepts is frequently a therapeutic exercise that allows you venture beyond your comfort zone and entertain your senses with novelty and uniqueness. The fundamental task of therapy is to help you make dynamic choices and productive decisions. The decision-making ability is critical in achieving your dreams and success in life.

The guidance of a professional and compassionate therapist can help you find new perspectives and accept your own potential to experience more pleasurable and fruitful outcomes in life. Start regaining the control of your life. Start living!

Call Perspectives Of Troy Today And Create Your Success (248) 244-8644  

Excel In Your Studies And Aim Higher

Excel In Your Studies

Recently I was asked to write an encouragement article for a local paper challenging students to excel in their studies. The thought about what to write caused me to reflect:

It was my senior year and the visit to the counselor’s office was scheduled to discuss my career options once I graduated. “In reviewing your transcripts, I believe that an on-the-job training program or the Armed Forces would be the best choice for you”, said my counselor.   “Anchors Away”, “Yes Sir”, and “No Sir”, became terms used daily during the next four years while serving in the world’s greatest military.

During my tour of duty, I had carefully observed the military class system: The officers and the enlisted. The enlisted were the rank and file hands-on personnel. The officers were managers and executive operation’s personnel. I would have much preferred the officer’s ranks!

In retrospect, I have wondered why only two options were suggested during that counseling session in high school. Why wasn’t college presented as a choice? I realize now that I was an unmotivated student.   I had not shown initiative toward my studies and was likely viewed as lacking the academic ability necessary to be successful in higher education. My focus, at the time, was only to “get by”.

One day, after saluting my superior officer, who was a year older than I, an “ah-ha!” moment overwhelmed me. Had I completed college and entered the military as an officer, this same guy may have been saluting me! Academic success and education was the key to my future. It was the missing piece. I became motivated, energized and committed to aim higher.

What Motivates You Set Higher Goals?

This personal recollection is shared as a challenge to any student who may be struggling with direction and in need of support and encouragement. The best option before you right now is to commit to your academic success. Don’t just “get by”, rather, grab hold of your future and Aim Higher”!

Harry Broomfield PhD


Perspectives Counseling Centers