Individual Therapy

Individual Therapy for Adolescents

Individual therapy is a type of counseling that addresses one’s unique needs or concerns. It is a popular and effective mode of treatment for many different types of mental health conditions. The therapy involves a therapist working one-on-one with clients to identify areas in their life that may contribute to mental or emotional distress. 

Strategies like psychotherapy, personal reflection, or mindfulness exercises help clients explore and better understand their feelings, behaviors, and beliefs. By doing so, the clients can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and make positive changes in their lives that promote healing and growth. 

Whether used as a standalone or in conjunction with other forms of therapy, individual teen counseling can effectively address mental health or substance use issues and improve well-being.

At Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness (MCAW), we offer individual therapy as part of our comprehensive outpatient treatment program for adolescents. Our team understands the unique challenges that teens face. So we work with them to create personalized treatment plans that address their problem areas.

Individual Therapy

What are the Benefits of Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy offers several benefits for teens dealing with mental or addiction issues. Some of the benefits of individual therapy include the following:

Development of strong therapeutic relationships. Research shows that therapeutic alliance is a crucial component of successful teen therapy intervention.

Development of self-awareness. This comes by discussing issues and getting feedback from the therapist.

Privacy and confidentiality. Teens can discuss personal issues and process difficult emotions or feelings in a safe setting.

Personalized care and attention from a skilled therapist. This can help foster trust and confidence and address each teen’s unique needs.

A chance to learn new skills and strategies. These are essential for managing difficult emotions, triggers, and stressors.

Quick appointments and flexible scheduling. At MCAW, we can arrange a therapy session when needed.

Individual Therapy

Who Provides Individual Therapy?

Therapists offer individual therapy. Therapists can have different titles depending on their education, training, and role level. These include:

Mental health professionals – psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers

Professional counselors

Licensed professional counselors

Licensed marriage and family therapists

Licensed clinical social workers

At MCAW, we have a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who specialize in adolescent mental health. Each of our therapists is licensed by the state of Massachusetts and has years of experience working with young people.

Individual Therapy

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What to Expect During Teen Individual Therapy

 The first step is to schedule an initial assessment with a therapist. During the initial evaluation, the therapist will ask about symptoms, medical history, current stressors, etc. They will then create a plan on how to address these needs.

The teen should also take advantage of this time to get to know the therapist and ask any questions they may have about therapy. It’s essential that they feel comfortable with their therapist and believe that they can trust them. As mentioned earlier, the therapeutic alliance helps ensure adolescent therapy works. 

This alliance often has three common themes:

If the teen decides to move forward with therapy, the next step is to begin attending regular sessions. Each session will be unique. But the therapist will generally provide support and guidance as the teen works through difficult emotions and experiences. The therapist may also offer coping and problem-solving strategies and teach new skills for managing stressors.

Individual Therapy
Individual Therapy

How Individual Therapy Works

Individual therapy works by helping the adolescent understand and work through their thoughts and emotions. This exploration can help the young adult develop a greater sense of self-awareness and understanding. The teens therapist will use different therapies and techniques to help the young adult process their thoughts. Many of these same therapies can also be used in a group therapy setting. 

Some common therapies used in individual treatment include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

 CBT helps teens to explore their thoughts, emotions, and experiences. It also helps them change negative thoughts and behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior
Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a type of CBT that emphasizes the importance of accepting positive and negative emotions.


This therapy helps people focus on the present moment and accept their thoughts and emotions.

Solution-Focused Therapy

This therapy helps people identify and achieve their goals by focusing on solutions rather than problems.

Trauma-Informed Therapy

This therapy helps people who have experienced trauma understand and process their experiences. It ensures that the patient is not re-triggered or re-traumatized while undergoing treatment.

Motivational Interviewing

Involves the clinician engaging the teen in a way that empowers change. The clinician asks open-ended questions and provides reflections, affirmations, and summaries.

Individual Therapy

How Long Does Individual Therapy Last?

Each session lasts about 40-60 minutes, and minor concerns are often addressed within a few weeks. But, chronic substance use or mental health disorders need long-term treatment. Sometimes, it takes up to a year for some noticeable changes to be noted. 

The length of time one spends in therapy depends on several factors, including:

  • The specific diagnosis – the mental health or substance use disorder being addressed
  • How long has the patient had the mental health or addiction issue
  • Severity or complexity of the problem being addressed
  • The amount of distress the issue causes
  • Financial constraints

What is the Effectiveness of Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is an effective modality for addressing teen addiction and mental health issues. Studies have shown that when troubled teens receive targeted support and individualized attention from a trained therapist, they are more likely to recover successfully and make positive behavioral changes over the long term. This is because one-on-one talk therapy allows therapists to tailor treatment plans specific to each client’s needs, considering factors like previous history, personal goals, and social context.

Furthermore, evidence-based individual therapy provides teens with a safe and supportive space to work through their emotions and challenges. It can also help teens build self-esteem, learn effective coping mechanisms, and develop positive social skills.

Individual Therapy
Individual Therapy

Get Individual Therapy for Teens Near Boston, Massachusetts

Individual therapy can benefit teens grappling with mental health concerns or addiction issues. The combination of tailored treatment plans, one-on-one care from experienced and compassionate therapists, and other supportive services provided by MCAW make our outpatient program an excellent option for adolescents needing quality care. 

At MCAW, we offer a range of therapy treatment options for adolescents. Our trained professional therapists are well-versed in individual, group, and family therapy. We work with families to help adolescents recover from mental health conditions and substance abuse. We aim to help teens learn healthy coping skills and improve their quality of life. 

Clinically Reviewed by:

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Dr. Melanie Carbonneau PhD, LMHC, MT-BC

Melanie Carbonneau is the Clinical Director at Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness and is a licensed counselor and certified music therapist with a Ph.D. from Lesley University. She leads MCAW with a focus on holistic care, emphasizing the importance of family and community involvement in the healing process.