Teen Violence Treatment

Teen violence treatment for the perpetrators and surviving victims of teen violence comes in many forms. Any teen who has been involved in teen violence as a perpetrator, victim, or witness can benefit from professional counseling and family support.

If you suspect someone you know may be at risk for teen violence, do not ignore the problem. Teen violence treatment recieved early on can make a big difference. Basic safety from teen violence:

  • Remove yourself from violent situations and, if possible without endangering yourself, remove the teen from the situation that is triggering his or her violent feelings. 
  • Don’t be alone with a teen showing violent tendencies. 
  • Get help for a violent teenage right away from a medical professional or law enforcement officer. 
  • Long-term teen violence treatment usually involves meeting with a professional counselor.

Teens who have been victims of violence often need guidance to cope with their feelings. Teens or their parents can get help from someone they trust: a doctor, therapist, teacher, school administrator, religious leader, or police officer. Teens who are afraid of violence should seek the protection of someone in authority, like a police officer or school administrator; they should not use violence or weapons to protect themselves.

Teens who are at risk for violent behavior, or who have committed violent acts, need to recognize that they have a problem and seek help from a doctor or counselor that specializes in teen violence treatment. A counselor can help them learn better ways of dealing with their emotions, and suggest ways to remove themselves from violent situations. Violent teens need to learn ways to deal with emotions without resorting to violence. Some of these methods may be:

  • Learning to talk about feelings calmly
  • Listening to others and trying to understand their point of view
  • Negotiating with others and finding nonviolent ways to solve problems

Some things that teens can do to control their anger or frustration include:

  • Notice the symptoms of anger, including tension, faster heartbeat and breathing, tight or fluttering feelings in your stomach, trembling, face feeling hot, goosebumps, clenched fists.
  • Calm down by taking deep breaths, imagining yourself someplace that makes you feel calm
  • Remind yourself to stay calm; you don’t have to prove anything or let others manipulate you into becoming angry
  • Stop and think. Consider the consequences of your actions before you act.

Violent behavior and teenage bullying is easier to stop when it is treated early. Parents, teachers, and other adults should look for signs that a teen may become violent and intervene to get teen violence treatment as early as possible. Some of these signs include:

  • Losing their temper
  • Making threats to injure themselves or others
  • Risky or illegal behavior
  • Involvement with gangs, gang violence, or drugs
  • Intentionally hurting animals
  • Not respecting the rights of others
  • Feeling rejected by others

When looking for a counselor to help a teen, parents should find someone they and their teen feels comfortable talking to. The different types of therapists who can counsel teens are:

  • Psychiatrists - medical doctors trained to deal with mental and emotional problems and prescribe medications
  • Psychologists - professionals trained to help people with mental and emotional problems; they can prescribe medications in some states
  • Social workers - professionals who help counsel and guide people with problems
  • Licensed mental health counselors - therapists who have studied how to provide counseling
  • Psychiatric nurses - registered nurses with special training in counseling

Regardless of the type of counselor or therapist a teen sees, make sure that the counselor is licensed and has experience treating teens in similar situations. The counselor may recommend group or family therapy, help teens with their inter-personal or problem solving skills, or help them recognize and change negative thoughts and behaviors.

Sometimes a teen needs to be moved from their environment to get them away from a situation encouraging violence, such as gangs or drugs. A therapist or another parent who has had similar experiences may be able to recommend places that can help teens, such as drug rehabilitation programs, residential treatment centers or other programs designed to help troubled teens.

Teens who are the perpetrators or victims of teen violence will also benefit from a family that shows them love, support, and firm but fair guidance. Family therapy can help families cope with the effects of teen violence.


American Psychological Association, APA Help Center, “Warning Signs of Youth Violence” [available online].

WebMD, Growth and Development, Ages 15 to 18 - When to Call a Doctor [online]

Related Article: Teenage Violence Prevention >>