Adolescence is fraught with academic, social, and family challenges. But many teens are too protective of their emerging selfhood to consider seeing a therapist themselves. And, knowing that their parents, teachers, or a juvenile court judge have sent them for therapy only serves to make teens more reluctant.
This is where it can be helpful to consider alternative therapy methods such as art or dance therapy. These types of therapy might seem unconventional. But they can be especially effective for teens navigating the specific challenges of adolescence.
So, what are some of these different therapy techniques? Let’s take a look!
1. Art Therapy
Teen art therapy allows adolescents to express their feelings through artistic pursuits. These might include painting, drawing, sculpting, and creating mixed media collages.
These creative outlets offer teens a way to work through internal conflicts, boost self-esteem, and restore focus. Art therapy isn’t only for gifted artists either. Instead, it’s all about the process of creation, offering teens a non-verbal way to express their ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
2. Music Therapy
Music is important for adolescents, making this therapy approach particularly effective for teens. Music therapy encourages teens to focus on introspection and self-expression through music. Specific music therapy practices involve songwriting sessions, lyric analysis, and listening to melodies. Through these methods, teens can increase their emotional awareness and lower their stress.
3. Animal-Assisted Therapy
This therapy technique involves interactions with animals such as horses, dogs, and cats. Animals can help promote emotional wellbeing in teens with behavioral issues and autism. But teens struggling with depression and addiction can also find animal-assisted therapy helpful.
For many teens, spending time with animals can provide a sense of comfort and safety. Animals also help divert their attention from a stressful situation toward a loving bond. This bond can help boost self-esteem, as well as communication and socialization skills.
4. Dance Therapy
Dance therapy allows teens to escape negative thoughts and engage in physical self-expression. But dancing ability or following steps aren’t important for this therapy approach.
Instead, dance therapy encourages freedom through movement to different kinds of music. And the result is often less stress, more mindfulness, and an endorphin-loaded mood boost.
5. Wilderness Therapy
This therapy approach involves taking teens out into nature to enjoy outdoor activities. These might include kayaking, orienteering, or learning skills such as putting up a tent.
Spending time in nature is a known mood-booster. This makes wilderness therapy especially effective for helping anxious or depressed teens. What’s more, group outdoor activities also encourage socialization, bonding, and increased self-confidence.
Alternative Therapy Methods to Consider for Your Teen
Some people may dismiss the therapy methods listed here as being unconventional. But, these therapy techniques don’t feel like the therapy that teens are so reluctant to try. And as a result, teens often respond better to these alternative approaches.
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