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Teen Counseling in Scottsdale, AZ

You Aren’t Alone Raising Your Teen

It can be difficult for parents to accept when their teenager needs help. This is true even if there is a gut feeling something is wrong and your teenager is suffering.

Does your teen deal with?

Seeking teen therapy or counseling can be a very healthy step for both yourself and your teenager. You might be uncertain about how to handle your teen and offer support. You don’t have to face it alone.

At Pathways Counseling Services, our team of certified mental health professionals provides professional therapy and counseling for your teenager. They are compassionate and skilled in helping teens.

If you’ve ever asked yourself the following questions, we can help:

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You and your Teen Don’t Have to Suffer In Silence

Admitting our teen needs help is tough, even when we know something is wrong. Though we want to support them, some problems require more than we can provide. In those cases, professional counseling and therapy resources can give teens the specialized support they need. Scottsdale offers holistic treatment encompassing therapy, support networks, and healthy living education.

Pathways Counseling Services Is Here for You and Your Teen

The team at Pathways Counseling Services can help put an end to your teen’s suffering. 

We believe that no teen, or anyone for that matter, should suffer in silence.

You’ve probably asked yourself countless times, “Do I need to find teen counseling?” 

If you are consistently asking the question, you likely already know deep down that the answer is probably yes. 

Study after study shows evidence of therapy’s positive effects on a teen’s mental health. In Scottsdale, the prevalence of various mental health conditions among teens highlights the urgency of accessible counseling services. Teen therapy can help them decrease mental disorder symptoms and promote emotional well-being.

Below we’ll explore many of the common issues our teens are facing today. If any of these sound familiar, we’d like to invite you to contact us for an appointment. We can offer a safe space for you and your teen to heal.

Signs of Anxiety in Teens

Anxiety in teens looks quite different from anxiety in younger children. As a result, therapy approaches anxiety differently in your teen.

Teens tend to worry more about themselves, and this might look like perfectionism.

Common teen anxiety signs include:

  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Fear/worry over routines
  • Withdrawal from activities
  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Extreme self-consciousness
  • Insomnia
  • Avoidance of new situations
  • Physical complaints
  • Declining grades/truancy
  • Reassurance seeking
  • Substance abuse

You may hear your teen talk about fears of failing in school, not doing well in sports, or being overly concerned about how others perceive them. It is also not uncommon for your teenagers to be highly critical of their bodies or appearance.

Check out our Anxiety Counseling page.

What Does Anger Look Like?

For parents, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between what is normal teen behavior and what may signal a deeper issue of extreme anger. Among adolescents, anger can be a healthy response to stress.

Anger is usually secondary emotion among teenagers. It can mask other underlying emotions like shame, fear, hurt, and sadness. A teen may lash out at times when underlying emotions are too much to bear.

Slammed doors, eye-rolling, and arguments with parents or siblings are all common teenage behaviors. However, your teen may struggle with serious anger issues when emotional outbreaks become more frequent.

Teens with significant anger or defiance issues will exhibit behaviors beyond typical teen angst.

Teens who grapple with severe anger issues often find themselves consumed by intense rage. Parents should be aware of any illegal activity, risky behavior, self-harm, or violence. A teenager might lash out in response to stress or an undiagnosed or untreated mental disorder.

Also see our blog on A Mental Health Self-care Checklist for the Modern Human.

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Depression Signs

Depression is a severe mental health issue causing persistent sadness, lack of interest, and disengagement in teens. It negatively impacts thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, leading to harm.

While temporary mood swings are common in adolescence, depression causes prolonged lows. Its symptoms differ between teens and adults and can be overwhelming for parents to identify and teens to manage..

Teen depression signs may vary, but emotional and behavioral changes to look for include:

  • Overwhelming sadness and crying for no reason
  • Anger and frustration over minor issues
  • Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Conflict with or a lack of interest in others
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Exaggerated self-criticism or self-blame
  • Fixation on failures 
  • Repeatedly seeking reassurances
  • Concentration, memory, and decision-making problems
  • A future outlook that seems bleak
  • Recurring thoughts about death or suicide
  • Insomnia 
  • Extreme appetite changes 
  • Substance abuse
  • Slowed movements, speech, or thinking
  • Chronic complaining about headaches or stomach aches
  • Isolation
  • Truancy or frequent school absences
  • A decline in academic performance
  • Diminishing attention paid to appearance or personal hygiene
  • Acting-out behaviors such as risky or disruptive behavior and angry outbursts.
  • Burning, cutting, and other self-harm behaviors
  • Suicide plans or attempts
  • Lethargy

Self-Esteem Issues

Low self-esteem in teens is unfortunately quite common and may cause many problems. This can include difficulty managing relationships and decision-making problems. It is also closely associated with depression and anxiety. Low self-esteem in teens often results from childhood traumas, identity attacks, unrealistic societal expectations, or chronic criticism. 

A teenager with low self-esteem is more likely to have negative thoughts regarding self-worth and personal value.

Some signs of low self-esteem in teens include:

  • Feeling unwanted or unloved 
  • Avoiding new opportunities and things
  • Blaming others when they make mistakes
  • The inability to manage everyday frustrations
  • Repeated comparison to others and negative self-talk
  • Fear of embarrassment or failure 
  • Difficulty making new friends
  • Low interest and motivation
  • An inability to take compliments
  • Feelings of stress and anxiety

If your teen shows signs of self-esteem issues, it’s time to find some needed resources. Through individual therapy sessions, adolescents can acquire valuable coping skills to manage stress and emotional challenges.

Common Issues In School

Though school is their primary responsibility, teens face many issues that complicate academic success. Extreme school-related stress can cause poor performance, isolation, avoidance, and physical and mental health problems in adolescents.

Here are the most common issues that teens deal with in school, which can be more easily managed when teen therapy resources are made available:

  • Peer pressure
  • Bullying or abuse
  • Teen drama/peer relationships
  • Academic pressure
  • Societal pressure

Couple this with the fear of school shootings, pandemics, and a whole host of other issues, and our teens need more support than ever before.

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Is My Teen Being Bullied?

Bullying involves deliberately threatening, frightening, upsetting, or harming another teen. Though common in adolescence, it doesn’t always resemble stereotypical bullying. It varies situationally and no teen is immune. Teen bullying compared with bullying of younger children is often non-physical and hidden out of shame, making it difficult for parents to identify.

However, there are specific signs of bullying that parents of teens can watch for, including:

  • A recurring fear or worry about school
  • Refusal to attend school or school-related activities
  • A decline in academic performance
  • Becoming increasingly isolated
  • Noticeable behavior and emotional behaviors
  • Insomnia
  • Disordered eating, or a sudden obsession with diet culture and/or appearance
  • Substance abuse
  • Increased self-conscious behavior
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Torn clothing
  • Missing or damaged belongings

What if Your Teenager Is Bullying Others?

If your teen is bullying others, have an open conversation to understand what happened and how they are feeling. Provide space for them to explain themselves. If the cause is unclear, therapy resources and mental health professionals can help uncover and address any underlying emotional issues leading to bullying behaviors.

Hurt people, hurt people, as the saying goes.

This is where partnering with a mental health professional can be incredibly beneficial. Sometimes teens don’t want to explain what’s really going on to mom or dad.

Experiencing Trauma

A traumatic experience can be any life event that causes threats to a teen’s safety or potentially places their or another’s life at risk.

A traumatic experience causes high levels of physical, psychological, and emotional distress that can temporarily disrupt the teen’s ability to function. Although these reactions will ultimately subside through the natural recovery and healing process, teen therapy resources should be made available to teens who experience trauma to avoid long-term adverse effects.

Recognizing that teens can experience trauma in many different ways is important.

They can be deeply traumatized by local, national, and worldwide tragedies and even become traumatized when their peers experience personal trauma.

Here are some common signs of trauma in teenagers:

  • Chest heaviness or throat tightness
  • Appetite loss or an empty stomach feeling
  • Guilt, related to something they did or said/ things left undone or unsaid
  • Unexplained anger or lashing out 
  • Anger toward the deceased, followed by guilty feelings
  • Mood swings 
  • Unexpected crying
  • Restlessness and difficulty with concentration
  • Denial 
  • Sensing the presence of the deceased
  • Talking to photographs or having conversations with the deceased
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Emotional regression 
  • An obsession with remembering things or recounting stories about the deceased
  • Isolation
  • Taking on a new role in the household, especially after the death of a close family member


The most important thing to remember when it comes to teens and grief is that teenagers will always manage grief differently than adults. Sometimes, the wide range of emotions brought forth by the loss of someone in their life can be confusing. 

Several factors can impact a teenager’s grief, including:

Teenagers encounter an array of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, which can significantly impact their daily lives.

While there is no single formula for supporting grieving teens, the best course of action is to talk to them openly. Listen to what they have to say, and give them the space they need to grieve and cope in a way that feels most comfortable for them. That is, as long as it is not destructive. 

Everyone reacts to grief differently, but some responses are typical and universal. 

Teens grieving the death of someone they love may exhibit the following:

  • Chest heaviness or throat tightness
  • Appetite loss or an empty stomach feeling
  • Guilt, related to something they did or said/ things left undone or unsaid
  • Unexplained anger or lashing out 
  • Anger toward the deceased, followed by guilty feelings
  • Mood swings 
  • Unexpected crying
  • Restlessness and difficulty with concentration
  • Denial 
  • Sensing the presence of the deceased
  • Talking to photographs or having conversations with the deceased
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • Emotional regression 
  • An obsession with remembering things or recounting stories about the deceased
  • Isolation
  • Taking on a new role in the household, especially after the death of a close family member

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Helping Your Teen Cope with Divorce

Divorce can be exceptionally difficult for teens already navigating adolescent identity changes.

Normal development versus divorce-related behavior changes are hard to discern.

Some cope well, while others struggle with low self-esteem and negativity.

Building a strong parental foundation helps, but tailored support is key as teens undergo late-adolescent changes. Individual therapy provides personalized attention to address unique divorce-related concerns.

Thankfully, teen counseling resources are available to kids dealing with a divorce.

How To Determine If Your Teen Has Been Abused

It is not uncommon for teenagers to suffer emotional, physical, or sexual abuse at the hands of an adult family member, a significant other, or someone else right under a parent’s nose.

However, there are specific signs to look out for to determine whether or not your teen suffers from child abuse, or has been abused.

Please be aware, however, that these indicators are not always present in teen abuse.

It’s also worth noting that teenagers experiencing emotional and mental health issues that are unrelated to any abuse might display these behaviors.

Without appropriate therapy and intervention, teens may resort to destructive behavior as a way of coping with their emotional turmoil. In other words, these signs may indicate other issues at play.

For example, unexplained bruising could be a result of a clumsy child. Or it could indicate they are a rough athlete. However, if multiple signs are present, it could be related to abuse.

Signs of child abuse in teens include:

  • Repeated, unexplained bruising, burns, or other injuries
  • Frequent or unexplained genital or stomach pain
  • Genital, vaginal, or anal bruising or bleeding
  • Sudden behavior changes, including extreme behaviors like becoming withdrawn, angry, quiet, or displaying signs of aggression or promiscuous behavior
  • Unexplained or excessive fear associated with specific people or places
  • An unusual aversion to physical contact or increased shyness
  • New behavioral problems such as running away or truancy
  • Substance abuse
  • Attempts to hide bodily injuries
  • Excessive crying or depression
  • Unexplained discharge
  • STDs
  • Stained, torn, or bloodied underclothes
  • Unexplained and frequent urinary infections, yeast infections, and sore throats
  • A decline in peer relationships
  • Insomnia or nightmares
  • A drop in academic performance
  • Avoidance of recreational activities
  • Uncommon behaviors for teenagers, such as a fear of the dark, bedwetting, or thumb-sucking 

Does My Teen Need Therapy?

Parents want to give their kids the help they need. This is true whether your teenager is showing signs of trauma, self-esteem issues, or any other common problems that affect adolescents’ mental and physical well-being.

It can sometimes be too much for parents to handle on their own, and that’s okay. 

Thankfully there are teen therapy resources available from our licensed therapists and mental health professionals who can help your teen through whatever it is that they are going through.

The trained professionals at Pathways Counseling Services are here to help with your teen counseling needs.

Attending a therapy session with a skilled counselor can provide a safe and supportive space for teens to express their feelings.

Contact us today to find out how you and your teenager can benefit from our teen counseling resources. 

Our Teen Counselors

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I make an appointment?

You may do this in three ways.
You can book online anytime
Call us at 480-613-8530
Complete this contact form.

Do you offer a free consultation?

Yes, we offer a free 15-minute telephone consultation. Please call us at 480-613-8530 to schedule a consultation or complete this contact form.

Do you accept any insurance?

Our practice is a fee-for-service practice which means we do not accept insurance. If you have an insurance provider with behavioral health coverage, they may offer out-of-network coverage. If you would like to use your out-of-network benefits, we will provide you with a superbill (receipt) that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

What should I expect when I come for my sessions?

Prior to your first session, you will fill out some general information. We will you a link to complete the form(s) prior to your first session.
During the initial appointment, we will review some of your histories and we will have an opportunity to discuss the reasons you are interested in counseling and the goals you are looking to achieve from counseling.
Together during the first few sessions we will put together a treatment plan with you.

How soon should I see results from the counseling sessions?

Most patients come in for weekly appointments. As you are feeling better, you can cut back on the frequency of the sessions so you have more time to practice what you are learning.

Initial sessions are 75 minutes ongoing sessions may be 45-75 minutes or longer depending on need.

Patients who work with us report improvements in a few sessions. More difficult issues may take longer. People come to therapy for different reasons but universally people don’t initiate counseling unless they are in some type of emotional pain. Our attitude is to try to make every session count.

What kind of patients do you see?

We welcome couples, children, adolescents, teens, and individuals of diverse backgrounds, cultures, religious traditions, and lifestyles.

We will be able to work with you using a variety of tools and techniques and specialize in a variety of issues and concerns.

Is what I say confidential?

All client-therapist conversations are private and confidential. In those rare exceptions when the safety of a client or other is at risk disclosure of confidential client-therapist information takes place.

Additional Specializations