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Premium: Are Teens Replacing Friends with Therapists?

"A therapist is not a magic ticket out."

In the past decade, it seems a cultural shift toward individualism has created a reluctance among friend groups to share personal struggles, often reserving them for therapy instead. It is important to acknowledge that there exists a delicate paradox in promoting the value of friendships as a source of support while also recognizing that not all issues can be effectively managed solely through peer relationships and do in fact require professional intervention. However, the current climate tends to magnify every subtle emotional fluctuation, hindering resilience and stability in young people. And lo and behold, there is a growing body of reports suggesting that the hyper-focus on mental health may inadvertently contribute to distress and loneliness rather than alleviating it.

All of us parents, we're kind of going, ‘I think I should say, get a grip and go back and do your homework’. But the world is telling me I should work with this. And we end up indulging it. And so these kids are constantly fed that this is appropriate. And the kid ends up in a very self-indulgent place around it. And they're not the better for it. They're more brittle. They're they're less strong. They're less resilient. And they could have done with some humor and some ‘you'll be okay, you can figure this out’.

It's important to recognize that even difficult emotions serve a purpose and should be respected. Understanding the normal fluctuations in emotional states and appreciating the potential functions of a wide range of emotional experiences is key. True wellness isn't solely about the absence of distress but involves achieving a balanced approach to coping and self-regulation amidst the highs, the lows and everywhere in between. This entails taking responsibility for one's own well-being and exploring various management strategies beyond therapy alone.

In this bonus episode for premium subscribers, Sasha and Stella critique the culture of over-reliance on therapy and offer alternative approaches for parents, such as encouraging self-reliance and exploring various resources beyond traditional therapy. They highlight the need for parents to take a lighter touch and consider broader solutions for their children's well-being.

Let's take off the gender glasses altogether. And let's think much broader about the needs of this young person.

Watch the full length episode exploring the over-treatment of young people here:

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Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in it's fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.