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Teen Counseling & Therapy in Tennessee

Teen Counseling & Therapy in Tennessee

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Statistics on Mental Health & Teenagers

  • According to Mental Health America’s 2021 Youth Ranking, Tennessee ranked 6th highest in the prevalence of youth (12-17) who reported suffering from one major depressive episode.1
  • According to Mental Health America’s 2021 stats, nearly 10% of teenagers suffer from major depression.
  • About 32% of 13 to 18-year-olds suffer from anxiety disorders.2
  • Around 1 in 5 young people (<18) worldwide now have clinically significant anxiety symptoms, almost doubling during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.3
  • The leading causes of disability and illness among teens are depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems.4
  • Among those aged 15 to 19, suicide ranks as the fourth most common cause of death.
  • The prevalence of mental health issues among 10 to 19-year-olds worldwide is estimated to be 1 in 7 (14%); however, these conditions are largely undiagnosed and untreated.
  • Globally, males are more at risk for excessive episodic drinking among adolescents aged 15 to 19.5
  • Teenagers with intellectual disabilities, chronic illnesses, or unstable social environments are more prone to encounter mental health disorders, according to the WHO.
  • Despite being underage, research indicates that people under 21—including teenagers—consume one-tenth of all alcohol in the US.6
  • The 2019 National Health Interview Survey’s key findings revealed that boys (14.8%) were more likely than girls (12.4%) to have had mental health treatment in the previous 12 months.7
  • The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that most adolescents with eating disorders between 2001 and 2004 were between 17 and 18.8
  • In a 2019 survey of 217 teenagers’ attitudes toward online therapy, researchers discovered that 31.9% preferred online help to in-person treatment, and 72% indicated they would seek support for mental health symptoms online. In other words, when youth have the choice of teletherapy, they may be more willing to consider teen counseling.9

Common Reasons Teens Seek Therapy Treatment

Below are some of the common reasons teens seek counseling services:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Behavioral issues
  • Bullying
  • Substance abuse
  • Stress
  • Anger management
  • School and social-related problems
  • Legal issues
  • Grief/Loss
  • Sexuality and intimacy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trauma
  • Gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Racial or cultural discrimination
  • Eating disorder symptoms
  • Self-harm or risky behaviors

Signs My Teen Needs Therapy

The following are potential signs your teen might need therapy:

  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Low energy
  • Sleeps excessively or not enough, or appears sleepy during the day
  • Spends an increasing amount of time alone
  • Refrains from engaging in social activities with friends or family
  • Excessively diets, exercises, or has a fear of gaining weight
  • Participates in self-destructive habits (such as cutting their skin)
  • Uses tobacco, alcohol, or other substances
  • Takes part in reckless or destructive activities by themselves or with friends
  • Has suicidal thoughts
  • Has episodes of extremely high energy and activity       
  • Says they believe someone is attempting to influence their thoughts or that they hear things others cannot hear10

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

What Happens in Therapy for Teens?

A physician can perform a series of behavioral health assessments and assist you in determining whether teen counseling or other options, like medication, could be beneficial.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that a critical factor in the success of counseling is the collaborative relationship between the psychologist and patient, also referred to as a therapeutic alliance. Therefore, finding the right match is crucial since patients and psychologists work closely together.

It’s crucial that your teen “clicks” with the psychologist. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask about their training, professional experience, and success in handling problems comparable to those your teen is experiencing.

Whether you speak with them on the phone, during a 15-minute consultation, or at the first visit, you should find a therapist for teens in Tennessee who makes your child feel comfortable. One to two sessions are usually enough to determine whether or not your teen wants to try a different therapist.

Individual, group, and family therapy are the three main types of counseling services for teenagers. People occasionally combine forms of therapy, such as individual and group sessions. The issue(s) will determine the type of therapy service needed:11

  • Individual: The teen will meet with a therapist alone to discuss their issues during individual treatment, which typically lasts 50 minutes. Unless the therapist has a compelling cause to think your child might injure themselves or someone else, everything said in therapy remains private. Sometimes it can be beneficial for the therapist to discuss a concern with parents or a school counselor.
  • Group: Your child can observe how other teenagers resolve their issues in group therapy. Each group typically consists of five persons, with one or two leaders. The group facilitators will raise topics and questions. However, the group members can also pose their questions and receive responses from their peers. Sessions for group therapy often run for 90 minutes or so.
  • Family: Family therapy generally consists of the parents and the teen, sometimes their siblings. Everyone is present so that they can address family-related issues. The therapist will forbid interruptions and ensure that everyone has a chance to express their concerns.

Feeling anxious at the first therapy appointment is normal.12 The therapist will start by questioning the teen about their issues, family, education, and overall well-being. They’ll pay attention to their experiences to better understand their patient. Sometimes they’ll speak to you as a parent, simultaneously with your child, and other times separately.

Finally, they’ll describe how they can help and establish a set of objectives with your teen. The objectives will determine how long therapy lasts. A therapist will often want to see your teen once a week for a few months. Your teen will continue working with the therapist to reach their goals throughout multiple sessions that typically last 45 to 50 minutes.

While in therapy, your teen might:13

  • Talk. People discuss their feelings with their therapists while gaining a deeper understanding of themselves by verbally expressing their emotions. It helps to deal with challenging feelings and difficult times if they’re talked through, encouraging one to think before acting. Talking about positive emotions and what’s working well makes one feel better overall. The therapist will help your child understand the interconnectedness of their feelings, thoughts, decisions, and actions.
  • Gain knowledge. The therapist provides lessons on emotions, thinking, coping skills, overcoming anxieties, and other topics. Parents and other caregivers might discover new ways to assist. Each teen’s learning in therapy will vary depending on what they need assistance with.
  • Practice learned skills. A therapist may impart techniques such as mindfulness, stress management, encouraging self-talk, and relaxed breathing. Your child will put the new abilities into practice throughout teen counseling.
  • Resolve issues. Your teen will use their developing abilities to identify and solve problems.
  • Recognize your strengths. Developing inner virtues like bravery and self-confidence are possible with counseling for teenagers. Your child will become more self-aware, which contributes to overall happiness.

If you want to use your insurance to pay for teen counseling, you might need to pick a psychologist who accepts that insurance. Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the simplest and quickest way to learn the specifics of your insurance coverage. Then, if you have any questions or concerns about counseling services for teenagers, our knowledgeable, highly trained care coordinators can review your policy and discuss your options with you.

In addition, online teen counseling is also an option, and it could be less expensive than in-person sessions. Your child might even prefer messaging their therapist to waiting in an office, and they might benefit more from treatment if they are more at ease with its format.14 Some online programs may even accept insurance.

Find Mental & Behavioral Health Treatment Centers Near Me

Athena Care offers a full-spectrum of mental and behavioral health services to those in Tennessee.

We have qualified therapists and accept many of the big name insurance providers. Our locations are open Monday-Friday from 7am to 6pm. Learn more below:

Things to Consider When Seeking Therapy for Teenagers

Anyone can seek help. You don’t need a diagnosed mental illness

You don’t need to wait for an emergency to contact a therapist; you can still speak with one, even without a formal mental disorder diagnosis.

Each person responds uniquely to different therapies

Depending on your teen’s preferences and medical needs, a therapist may employ various treatment techniques. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular evidence-based talk therapy used in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including bipolar disorder, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and trauma.

Psychodynamic Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and music therapy are other forms of counseling services for teenagers. Many counselors for teens in Tennessee will mix these approaches while developing a therapeutic plan.

While your therapist gets to know you, being honest is crucial

It’s crucial to realize that a few therapy sessions won’t provide instant results. Teen counseling requires patience and perseverance. If your teen is untruthful with their therapist, it will inevitably lengthen the duration of treatment.

Additionally, the therapist can only use the information shared. Therefore, being willingly open and honest about thoughts and feelings is crucial. The therapist will be able to provide a more customized solution moving forward after they have a greater understanding of your teenager’s preferences.

You may have to change therapists

Trial and error are common in therapy. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), therapy should only require a few sessions to be effective. Don’t be discouraged if there’s no connection between the therapist and your teen. It’s more important that you keep looking for one who offers a successful treatment plan.

Medication is a potential course of treatment

For those with mental health disorders, a therapist may prescribe medication. By regulating chemical imbalances in the brain, medication can help your child operate more efficiently in their daily life.

Getting help can empower you

Studies show that about 75% of people who receive talk therapy benefit. However, the stigma associated with mental illness still exists and may prevent some people from seeking treatment. Symptoms can worsen if ignored. Mental health can significantly benefit from learning how to deal with and manage symptoms.

Online therapy alternatives can remove barriers to care

COVID-19 made it evident that counseling for teenagers is a necessity. Many did not attend in-classroom school for a year, and studies have shown the significant impact this has on an adolescent’s development. Furthermore, online counseling helps to eliminate some of the anxieties associated with going to therapy can cause.

Glossary of Various Types of Clinicians

The string of letters following qualified psychologists’ names is due to the licensing authorities that require a degree indication (Masters, Doctorate, or Medical Doctorate) in addition to a license.

The following is a list of credentials that may appear after mental health professionals’ names and what they stand for:

  • LPA – Licensed Psychological Associate
  • LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • LCAS – Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist
  • LMHC – Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • LPCA – Licensed Professional Counselor Associate
  • LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • NCC – National Certified Counselor
  • RN – Registered Nurse
  • MS – Masters of Science
  • MA – Masters of Arts
  • MSW – Masters of Social Work
  • DSW – Doctorate of Social Work
  • Ph.D. – Doctorate of Philosophy
  • Psy.D – Doctorate of Psychology
  • Ed.D – Doctorate of Education
  • MD – Medical Doctor
  • DO – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

A doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) with a focus on mental health is known as a psychiatrist.15 Additionally, this doctor might focus on geriatrics, pediatrics, or addiction psychiatry, among other areas.

Psychiatrists can do the following:

  • Diagnose and treat mental health issues
  • Provide guidance
  • Prescribe medication

A psychologist is trained in psychology, a field of study that examines thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. A psychologist often has a doctorate (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D.).

A Psychologist:

  • Can provide counseling one-on-one or in group settings while diagnosing and treating a variety of mental health conditions.
  • Can only prescribe medication if they have a valid license to do so
  • May collaborate with a different doctor who, if necessary, can provide prescriptions for drugs

Look for a licensed clinical social worker (L.C.S.W.) with specific expertise and experience with teenagers if a social worker is what you need. A master’s in social work (M.S.W.), master of science in social work (M.S.S.W.), or doctorate in social work is required for licensure as a clinical social worker (D.S.W. or Ph.D.).

Licensed Clinical Social Workers:

  • May offer counseling, behavioral health assessments, and a variety of other services depending on their expertise and licensure
  • Do not write prescriptions for drugs
  • May collaborate with a different doctor who, if necessary, can provide prescriptions for drugs

A Licensed Professional Counselor’s (L.P.C.) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor’s (L.M.H.C.) education requirements vary slightly by state. A master’s degree in a counseling-related subject, 500-hour practicum or internship, with at least 300 hours spent in a mental health or community-based environment, and nine credits in mental health assessment, diagnosis, and treatment are requirements for licensure as an L.P.C. in Tennessee.16

A Licensed Professional Counselor:

  • Provides diagnosis and counseling for various mental health concerns
  • Does not prescribe medication
  • May collaborate with a different doctor who, if necessary, can provide prescriptions for drugs

Ask Questions

You can find a list of practitioners organized by city, background, and specialty here. It’s important to ask lots of questions and to keep the following in mind when selecting behavioral health clinics and a therapist for teens in Tennessee:

  • Education, training, license, and years of experience
    • Does the therapist have a Ph.D., Psy.D., or a master’s degree?
    • Have they worked as a teen counselor before? How long? In what capacity?
    • Which behavioral or mental health issues have they primarily treated?
    • How long have they been practicing?
  • Specialties and services offered
    • Which types of therapy do they specialize in?
    • Is online therapy an option?
  • Treatment methods and philosophies
    • Which therapy techniques do they favor?
  • Which insurance companies do they work with?
  • What are their office hours, prices, and how long do sessions last?

Benefits of Therapy for Teenagers

Each specific type of treatment has varying benefits,17 but below are some of the overarching benefits of therapy for teenagers:

  • Ability to learn the root cause of emotions, behaviors, and trauma
    • As a result, individuals can sort out their problems and discover solutions to them.
  • Your teen will receive personalized mentoring and coaching
    • It’s no secret that most teenagers find it difficult to ask for help, and they frequently put off starting their homework, let alone therapy. They usually don’t want to discuss their difficulties with their parents because they fear being lectured, punished, or misunderstood. They often even feel uncomfortable talking openly with their friends. In reality, most teenagers benefit from being able to speak to a trusted adult about their issues and challenges.
  • Overall mood improvement
    • Teen counseling can deliver a much-needed boost in overall mood.
  • Enhanced sense of self-worth
    • By talking about their problems with a trusted adult and being positively validated, teenagers can begin to recognize their worth.
  • Boost in confidence
    • Validated feelings and learning how to manage stressful situations or negativity can boost our day-to-day confidence.
  • Throughout the teen years, a therapist can remain a resource for your family
    • Consider how much time and effort we put into finding a dependable mechanic, family dentist, and primary care physician. Most people stay with that person for a considerable time once that relationship is established. The same can apply to a family therapist.
  • Relationship improvements
    • Therapy can provide the tools necessary to repair or strengthen a relationship, be it with a significant other, family member, or friend.
  • Improved communication skills
    • Counseling for teenagers provides adolescents with the opportunity to work on and improve their communication skills.
  • Reduction in symptoms of anxiety or depression
    • Consistently discussing your feelings with someone you trust in a safe and secure environment can significantly reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms.
  • Stress-reducing
    • Studies have shown that stress management intervention techniques reduce not only stress but also compulsive behaviors, as well as social media time after the intervention.18

How to Convince My Teen to go to Therapy

How you bring up counseling with your teenager is crucial if you believe they can benefit from it. Your first conversation with your teen could determine their attitude toward treatment.

Teenagers frequently feel ashamed of their issues and accepting that they need help can be difficult. Therefore, it’s critical to refrain from conveying a message that can induce feelings of guilt. Furthermore, never imply that your teen is crazy or that they lack the intelligence to make wise decisions. Instead, discuss the benefits of teen counseling and why you believe it important. Be prepared to listen to your teen’s thoughts and solicit their feedback.

Ask your teen whether having someone else to talk to besides you will be beneficial. Alternatively, you could say, “I don’t always know how to help you with challenges; therefore, I wonder if it could be good for you to talk to someone else.” You might even consider discussing your personal therapy experiences with them to help normalize it and lessen the stigma.

Don’t give up if your teen declines to attend counseling. There are still a variety of options, including:19

  • Seek counseling on your own. One of the best strategies for assisting teenagers is often parent education. You might be able to learn how to guide your child from a therapist. Your teen may become interested in attending counseling if they are aware that you will be discussing them there. They’ll want to give “their side” of the story.
  • Speak to your teen’s guidance counselor at school. Discuss whether your child can use any assistance provided by the educational system. Some teenagers will talk to a guidance counselor even if they don’t meet with one outside school.
  • Draft a contract with your teen. Propose a contract with your teen if the issue you are worried about is minor. Inform your teen that they must attend a predetermined number of sessions before deciding whether to continue their treatment.
  • Consider online teen counseling. Teenagers who won’t talk to someone face-to-face may think about speaking with a therapist online or through text. However, discussing the potential benefits and drawbacks with a therapist or your teen’s doctor before beginning treatment is crucial because online treatment isn’t suited for every problem.

Other Behavioral & Mental Health Resources for Teens

  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741- You will receive an automatic text asking what your crisis is if you text 741741 from anywhere in the US. A certified live crisis counselor will respond to your SMS within minutes. The text message exchange is free, private, and won’t appear on your phone statement.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line: 1-855-274-7471
  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – 988
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Love Doesn’t Have to Hurt Teens: This website has information on how abusive relationships work, how worried friends may help, and resources for teenagers.
  • QueerAmerica: Resources for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Youth
  • Go Ask Alice!: A website featuring health Q&As. To help teens or readers make informed decisions about their health and well-being, it offers a variety of thoughtful viewpoints and information that is trustworthy, factual, accessible, and culturally competent.
  • The Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 – Through its authorized, free, and confidential instant and text message crisis intervention services, The Trevor Project offers crisis support focused on suicide prevention.
  • NEDA: NEDA promotes prevention, treatments, and easy access to high-quality care while offering support to families and those who suffer from eating disorders.
  • Mental Health Literacy: The teen brain, the value of sleep, and other concerns affecting teenagers are a few topics covered on this website’s extensive mental health resources. Additionally, there are sections on how friends, teachers, parents, and other adults may support teenagers experiencing mental health challenges.


  1. “Youth Data 2021.” Mental Health America, Mental Health America, Inc., 2021, www.mhanational.org/issues/2021/mental-health-america-youth-data.
  2. “Any Anxiety Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder. Accessed 5 Aug. 2022.
  3. Racine, Nicole, et al. “Global Prevalence of Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Children and Adolescents During COVID-19.” JAMA Pediatrics, vol. 175, no. 11, 2021, p. 1142. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2482.
  4. “Adolescent Mental Health.” World Health Organization, WHO, 17 Nov. 2021, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-mental-health.
  5. “Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018.” World Health Organization, WHO, apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/274603/9789241565639-eng.pdf?ua=1&ua=1. Accessed 5 Aug. 2022.
  6. “Teen Substance Use and Risks.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 Feb. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/features/teen-substance-use.html.
  7. Zablotsky, Benjamin, Ph. D., and Emily P. Terlizzi M. P. H. “Products – Data Briefs – Number 381 – September 2020.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db381.htm.
  8. “Eating Disorders.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services., www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/eating-disorders. Accessed 5 Aug. 2022.
  9. Sweeney, Grace M., et al. “Logging into Therapy: Adolescent Perceptions of Online Therapies for Mental Health Problems.” Internet Interventions, vol. 15, 2019, pp. 93–99. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.invent.2016.12.001.
  10. “Child and Adolescent Mental Health.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15 Mar. 2022, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/child-and-adolescent-mental-health.
  11. “Therapy for Teens: What to Expect.” WebMD, WebMD LLC., 1 Feb. 2007, www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/therapy-for-teens.
  12. “Understanding Psychotherapy and How It Works.” American Psychological Association, 16 Mar. 2022, www.apa.org/topics/psychotherapy/understanding.
  13. “Going to a Therapist (for Teens) – Nemours KidsHealth.” Kids Health, The Nemours Foundation, kidshealth.org/en/teens/therapist.html. Accessed 5 Aug. 2022.
  14. Raypole, Crystal. “2022 Teen Counseling Review: Features, Benefits, Costs, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 14 Mar. 2022, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/teen-counseling#what-it-is.
  15. Danzman, Rob. “Finding a Therapist for Your College Student.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, LLC, 23 May 2019, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/campus-crunch/201905/finding-therapist-your-college-student.
  16. “Tennessee Counseling License Requirements.” Counseling Degree Guide, www.counselingdegreeguide.org/licensure/tennessee/#process. Accessed 19 July 2022.
  17. Morin, Amy, LCSW. “Which Types of Therapy Are Best for Teens?” Verywell Mind, Dotdash Media, Inc., 25 Feb. 2022, www.verywellmind.com/therapy-for-teens-2610410.
  18. Kallianta, Maria-Despoina K., et al. “Stress Management Intervention to Enhance Adolescent Resilience: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” EMBnet.Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, 2021, p. e967. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.14806/ej.26.1.967.
  19. Morin, Amy, LCSW. “My Teen Refuses to Go to Counseling—Now What?” Verywell Mind, Dotdash Media, Inc., 18 Sept. 2020, www.verywellmind.com/what-to-do-if-your-teen-refuses-to-go-to-counseling-2610463.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155