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Teens and College Students

And Parents


The years between high school to your early to mid-20s can be a tough time. You’re not a kid anymore, but you may not yet feel or be treated like a fully independent adult. It is a time of uncertainty, self-discovery, and exploration. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, or anxious.

The pressure is real. Anyone who has graduated will tell you the instant stress when someone asks, “So, what are you gonna do after graduation?” There’s a ton of pressure to be able to present your future plans fully formed and ready to go. Most of the employment search sites state an American will change careers 3 to 7 times in a lifetime. What you want to do at 18 or 22 will most likely not be what you are doing when you retire.

My story

I graduated high school and thought, “Hey, my uncle is an engineer and he has a nice house in a Chicago suburb. Yeah, engineering sounds good.” It was an acceptable profession to tell my guidance counsellor, my teachers, my friends, my parents’ friends, and all my family. Graduation party was a success.

Fast forward to my 50’s and I WAS an engineer for a time. I was an engineer for a handful of years, a professor for a decade and a half, and now I’m a psychologist for over a dozen years. All those careers are absolutely respectable. Yet, I was miserable with the isolation as an engineer and felt an increasing restlessness with the redundancy as a professor. For now at least, I have hit my sweet spot as a psychologist.

I do not consider any of my professions as a “wrong decision”, “waste of time” or in any way a mistake. Rather, each of those experiences brought me knowledge that I use every day. Engineering taught me how to think logically. Also, I have little to no fear around technology (except AI – Artificial intelligence scares the begeezes out of me). As a professor, I was able to work closely with both students and other professors. My time at the college was foundational to my work as a psychologist.

There are no mistakes. You can always change your major, change your profession, or change your entire view of life. According to research you get 3 to 7 chances.

What you can expect in therapy

I have been able to see quite a few clients through the whole proces of education.  From their high school years in my office through their college days online.  It has been an honor to witness all the experiences.  My hope is they felt a sense of grounding and support that helped them through the good and difficult times.

I have had the privilege of walking with my clients through excruciating losses, academic struggles, intense relationships, athletic triumphs and disappointments, loneliness, home-sickness, as well as frustrations with inconsiderate roommates. High school and college years are full of new and intense sources of stress. It’s okay to want to have an impartial, empathetic, and consistent source of support.

The first few appointments are generally a time to get to know each other and for you to decide if I am a good fit. If it feels right, we keep going. We will reassess together how you feel periodically. We will determine together if therapy is still helping, if you need a break, or if you feel like you are good to go and ready to stop (always knowing you can return).

It’s okay if I’m not a good fit for you. Just let me know and I will do what I can to find you someone who may better fit your needs. It’s about you and I want you to have a great experience … even if it’s not with me.

Common struggles for teens and college students


I don’t know anyone who hasn’t dealt with periods of anxiety and depression symptoms. Your school years are full of intense opportunities for these symptoms to inflate. From academics to athletics to relationships, this time is full of stress.

With all the demands it is not difficult to see why you may feel overwhelmed, confused, and at times hopeless. The pressure and uncertainty of your academic career exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Having a standing appointment every week, every two weeks, or even once a month can give you a place where you know you can relieve some of those emotions.

Academic Stress

Let me tell you, academic stress is real. A great recipe for unrelenting overwhelm, hopelessness, and feelings of unworthiness is to take more than one high-demand class during a semester. Given there are typically more than one high-demand class required every semester, academic stress will haunt you throughout school.

Here’s the thing – the demands of academics can create a fear response. Those fight, flight, freeze, and fawn reactions we all do when we experience threat can really get in the way of doing school work. Procrastination is not usually laziness. Rather, procrastination is an escape from an overwhelming fear of not knowing enough (or being enough). Do I have what it takes to complete the assignment, pass the exam, or write that paper?

I’ve been there and I get it. I may get on you to not wait until the last minute when it comes to academics. Come on, I’m a former professor and a mom at heart. But,I also understand the factors that may be causing you to question your academic worth.


Okay, confession: I love sports and I have a very soft spot for athletes. My childhood was all about competition and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate throughout college. Also add in 3 kids of my own who were very involved in sports and I rarely missed a moment of their competing. I have one still in high school and she has committed to playing in college – still a few years of “sport-mom” left to do.

I can relate to the physical energy, emotional expenditure, and time requirements that go along with competing. Athletics add a level of excitement, accomplishment, frustration, and disappointment to your academic experience. The experience can feel like too much and never enough all at the same time. Therapy can be a great place to process all the ups and downs that go along with competing at a high level.

Eating Disorders

Disordered eating is often silent, yet incredibly common in the halls of academics as well as in the gyms and fields of athletics.
For high school and college-aged students, the pressure to fit in and conform to certain standards can be intense. It’s common to feel like you need to look a certain way or fit into a certain mold to be accepted. Unfortunately, this pressure can sometimes lead to disordered eating behaviors.
Therapy can be a safe and supportive space to explore your thoughts and feelings surrounding food, performance, and body image. Together, we can work to uncover the underlying issues that may be contributing to your struggles and develop strategies for managing your symptoms.


Relationships Issues

During times of transition and change, it’s natural to experience a range of emotions when it comes to our relationships. Whether it’s friendships, romantic partners, or family dynamics, relationships can be both a support and an added stress.
It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the pressure of navigating relationships while also dealing with the demands of school. You may find yourself in unexpected and surprisingly unhealthy relationships that are the source for all kinds of additional stress.
In therapy, we can work together to explore your experiences with relationships. We will work to develop strategies for managing your emotions and setting healthy boundaries.


Give me a call … or an email, or a text

If you are struggling, uncertain, or simply want to make the best of your academic years, I am here to offer you support. Reach out to ask any questions you may have or we can set up a time for your first appointment. You don’t have to do this alone.





Still Have Questions?