Adolescence is a time of great physiological, psychological, and social development.
From a psychological standpoint, it is not uncommon for teens to experience some feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety or frustration as a result of stressors related to friendships, academics or family concerns. Some teens can find effective coping strategies to regulate their emotions by seeking support through trusted confidants, problem-solving, and engaging in wellness strategies. However, other teens may experience a sense of emotional dysregulation, which is an inability to control or regulate emotional responses effectively. Teens who struggle with emotional dysregulation often experience intense emotions that can be positive (i.e., excitement, happiness) or negative (i.e., sadness, anger, anxiety). The emotions are often described as overwhelming and varying in intensity, depending upon the response to the perceived stressors. Studies indicate that teens who struggle with emotional dysregulation have greater difficulty with establishing interpersonal relationships, feel less fulfilled, and are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, self-injury, binge-eating, substance abuse, and other destructive behaviors. In addition, emotional dysregulation can place tremendous stress on the family system. Many parents feel overwhelmed, frustrated and helpless. Therapy can help teens and families develop ways to decrease emotional suffering and promote interpersonal connectedness.