Adolescence is a period of significant growth and development of the body and mind. With this may come changes in a youth’s ability to manage or cope with their emotions, relationships and educational expectations or demands. Sometimes changes in behaviour are signs that more serious emotional (e.g., depression, anxiety, trauma), social (e.g., anxiety/introversion, negative peer influences) and/or learning (e.g., attention, reading, writing, mathematics) problems may be occurring.
Psychologists can help explain the natural and normal changes that occur and also identify more concerning issues or problems using a variety of methods. Youth from the ages of 12 and upward can be treated for a range of emotional, social and learning challenges. Psychologists gather information from the adolescent and their family through talking and discussion, filling out questionnaires and if needed, more formal psychological assessment. In most cases, talking therapy is recommended to encourage youth to learn about themselves. This is done through developing insight and connections between their thinking, emotions and behaviour in order to adopt more effective coping techniques. This is done in a safe and nonthreatening environment that upholds the youth’s right to privacy and confidentiality.
A more formal, in-depth psychological assessment may be necessary when cognitive, learning and or performance issues are in question and cannot be determined through therapy alone.