As a person that does therapy with teens, I’ve commonly heard the phrase (usually from parents), “Isn’t he/she just doing this for attention? They don’t really need therapy…”
Well, let’s think about it. Let’s say they are… Let’s say that teens would be SO motivated to get attention that they would hurt themselves, engage in self harm, act depressed, or struggle with compulsions. Isn’t that a worry in and of itself? Funny enough, these sort of relational struggles are also things that get resolved in therapy. And trust me, many of the struggles my client’s face are incredibly painful, self humiliating, and hard for them to discuss. Some may struggle with wanting more attention and feeling inadequate, but that’s also a mental health struggle, a relational struggle, and a desire to work on the parts of themselves that NEED that validation (and going to extreme lengths to get it) versus wanting it. To me, it’s not so important that people have “attention-seeking behaviors”, but that we understand why they feel the need to seek that attention in the first place and giving them the benefit of the doubt that they are not doing it for malicious intent. And even if they are? That’s a relational problem to resolve. Utilizing the help of a great therapist who provides a safe place to explore that need is a great place to start in healing all of the above.
If you or a loved one are attention-seeking, they likely need that attention for very good reasons. We must honor that and meet them where they are at. And honor, that we all have a piece inside of us that likes attention from time-to-time. Therapy helps, heals, and can provide insights for families when their loved one is in need of attention.
Questions? I’d be happy to answer them via email here or give me a call at (316) 201-6047.