Therapy: Importance, Benefits, and Resources for Teens

Written By: Isabel Mateus

Over the past decade, mental health has become an increasingly addressed issue worldwide, especially in the wake of COVID. With more resources available than ever, more people are starting to seek professional help. 

There is a common notion that therapy is solely for people struggling with trauma or a diagnosed mental disorder when, in fact, it is for anyone and everyone. “Everyone has the opportunity to improve their quality of life,” says Psy. Laura Vraney, a therapist who has worked in the field for about eight years. “There is a standard, for some reason, of what it should look like to be in therapy, but therapy is so inclusive. There is a spectrum of mental health challenges, and there are all different levels of care to meet the needs of each.” As therapy starts to become normalized, education about these different levels of care and their benefits are important. 

How Does Therapy Help? 

Psychotherapy does not make one’s problems go away or directly make a person happier. Its purpose is to help the patient cope with whatever is happening in their lives or whatever mental toll they are bearing. Most importantly, therapy is meant to be a safe space for someone to share their thoughts and emotions. Not only will therapists keep an open mind, but they will also keep said to them confidential (unless the patient is in danger or a danger to someone else), even with parents. 

When asked about the qualities of a good therapist, Vraney said “[A good therapist should be] informed, open, self-aware, compassionate, empathic, flexible, and non-judgmental… I believe it’s the therapist’s responsibility and duty to possess these characteristics to set the tone for therapy to be a safe place and to be able to guide someone.” 

A mental health professional is qualified to provide a fresh perspective on certain issues and help someone come to understand their own emotions and behaviors. They also can teach their patients skills and mechanisms to cope with their problems and feelings.

There has been a rise in mental health problems for teenagers, due to things like the Internet, the COVID pandemic, and countless other stressors. Therapists are approached with anxiety disorders, depression, obsessions, compulsions, and family issues. Different therapists specialize in working with different mental disorders and know how to help someone struggling with that disorder. 

Other forms of therapy are more general, in that people learn to manage their everyday lives. Through therapy, teens (and people in general) can learn and strengthen vital skills such as emotion regulation, effective communication, empathy, assertiveness, and self-awareness. “It’s tough to be a teen!” Vraney imputed. “There’s a lot blossoming when you’re a teen, and some you don’t have control over and some you do. Your brain’s developing, your hormones are changing, your self-esteem and sense of identity are kickin’ in, your social situations are shifting, you’re getting that first blurb of what it means to be an adult… It can be incredibly scary and you feel like you need to have it under control and know what you’re doing when it’s okay that you don’t. Being able to work through those layers with someone who’s knowledgeable and supportive and non-judgmental can help you get through that complexity.” 

Counseling is proven to improve the self-esteem, overall mood, and communication of adolescent individuals. Talking to a professional is an effective release of emotions, allowing people to better understand their own mind and, therefore, understand how to work towards their personal goals.


Not everyone can afford therapy, but there are still credible resources available for anyone struggling with mental health or is in need of someone to talk to. To find these resources or to find help looking for these resources:

  • Ask your guidance office for help– if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your counselor, they can connect you with someone you can talk to. There are on campus resources at your school!
  • Call 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline– this hotline runs 24/7 and can connect you to a person to talk to in a moment of distress. If you have a hard day, are concerned with your mental state, or are having a mental crisis, this is a great free resource. 
  • Visit the Open Path Collective website– an organization that can connect you with affordable counseling 
  • Find local social services– support groups in your community.

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