Meet the Teens Behind the Beloved Podcast Helping Fellow Teens: Teenager Therapy

Culture

At just teenager-age, the Teenager Therapy Podcast is impacting lives of that stage in your life when you're just not quite a kid, yet not an adult.

With honest and open talks with each other, Teenager Therapy features internet figures, influencers, and even the Duke and Duchess Harry and Meghan in honor of World Mental Health Day. Much more, Teenager Therapy is authenticity at its finest, a real and unfiltered look into the ins and outs of being a teen. After all, teens understand teens best.

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The members behind the ever-popular and insight-providing podcast, Teenager Therapy, are taking a step forward to help fellow teenagers.

The Teen Magazine had the chance to speak with Gael Aitor of Teenager Therapy on everything about the podcast and more, alongside our 10 Quick Q's for you to be in the know for everything.

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The Creation of Teenager Therapy

How did the podcast start? What inspired it?

So, the idea for the podcast came to be in 2019, when I was a sophomore in high school. I was listening to Couples Therapy with Candice and Casey, where they talked about all the stuff going on in their marriage, and I remember just relating to everything they said.

Now, this was a little bit odd for me because I couldn’t figure how I could possibly relate to a couple of 30-year-olds that shared practically nothing in common with me, but I did, and it made me feel a whole lot less alone.

One day, I was in the shower and then—shower thought!—I wondered, “What if I did that, but with teenagers?” It just seemed like the most obvious and perfect thing, but when I looked up teen podcasts on Spotify, there was barely anything.

Since nobody seemed to be making them, I thought it’d be super cool to do it on my own. I told 4 of my friends about the idea and they loved it. We started off with very humble beginnings, sitting around a simple phone camera mic in one of our bedrooms, and uploaded our first episode in September 2018, and the rest is pretty much history!

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Episode Recommendations

Which episodes do you think best represent your podcast and why?

There are basically three types of episodes we do.

The first is casual ones (my favorites), which includes “Spending Valentine’s Day Alone,” a quick and light Q&A plus chat.

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From the second category, which aims to further our mission of being vulnerable, I enjoy “The Realities Of Our Friendship,” which covers everything from setting boundaries to cutting off toxic friends.

And lastly, for our thought-starter episodes, the “Is Acne Beautiful/Skin Neutrality/Acne Insecurities” really shines at digging deep into an important teen topic.

The Dynamic Behind The Scenes

Are you all close? What have you all learned from each other?

Actually, when we started, we weren’t a friend group yet. I was good friends with Isaac, Thomas, and Mark, but Isaac wasn’t that close with Mark or Kayla, and I barely knew Kayla too, so we were all connected in ways, but not all together.

We definitely weren’t as close as we are now, but due to the nature of our podcast and talking about our problems every week, we’ve been able to get a ton closer. I mean, they’re some of my closest friends, and each has distinct qualities that I personally look up to.

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Isaac does a really good job at talking with people and making them feel welcome. Mark is just a bundle of joy, super down-to-earth with a great attitude. Thomas has so much kindness and care in his heart. Kayla is very good-natured and patient. I appreciate and learn things from all of them whenever we spend time together.

The Fun Part & The Hard Part

What was the most fun thing about the podcast and what was the most challenging?

The most fun is definitely having an excuse to buy food together. Whenever we have a little celebration for the podcast, we get to go out and eat or make dinner, and it’s very fun just spending time with friends.

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At least for me, the most challenging part is managing the dynamics between us, making sure our friendship remains healthy and stable. I’m technically their boss, which is so weird, and I kind of hate it because it disconnects me from them a little.

We’ve discussed and talked through it before, but dynamics are everchanging and always need to be worked through, which would be true even if we didn’t have a podcast.

Projects Coming Up...

What projects do you have planned for the near future?

There are a few things. One, those card games—you know the ones that ask a lot of questions or are like truth-or-dare that get you closer with the people you play with? I love those, and I feel like making our own version of that would be awesome.

Two, I hope to write a book—an actual, helpful guide to being a teenager. Not those ones were written by adults that just say “Do your homework and don’t do drugs!” but like a real, authentic teenage perspective on getting through life.

Three, I’m not sure what exactly, but I want to do something with sex ed—promote and de-stigmatize it in a fun and accessible way.

Lastly, it would be cool to do more YouTube, we have a lot of ideas for different videos and series. Imagine The Office mixed with a candid vlog, real life but in a comedic mockumentary format.

What's Coming in 5 Years? Will Teenager Therapy Be Passed Down?

What about in 5 years? You’ve mentioned that once you’ll consider passing the podcast down once you’ve passed teenagehood—how will that work?

We get a lot of questions about that. In 3 months, we’re going to graduate from high school and be on our way to college! Luckily, we’re all planning on staying local, so we want to continue the podcast until we’re not officially teenagers anymore.

And after that, there are a couple of options. We could pass it off to the next generation of teenagers, or we could do a season 2 or a phase 2.

Phase 1 was our teenage years, phase 2 will be our new adult years, and we’ll continue doing that until we get bored. It’s so wild—in 30 or 40 years I can look back onto it and show my kids what I was like at their age.

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On Vulnerability

On your podcast, you’re very open about what you’re feeling and thinking—how has that vulnerability shaped your life?

Vulnerability is something I’ve come to appreciate more and more because of this podcast. In order to develop a meaningful relationship with someone, you have to have the courage to be vulnerable.

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You have to have the courage to open up, give someone the power to hurt you, and trust that they won’t. When you do that, and even better when they do the same, you develop a genuine connection and tight bond.

Something I had an issue with was trying to distance myself from others and never letting myself get too close in case I would get hurt. I’ve come to realize that I need to let myself go, love unconditionally, appreciate everyone, and deal with whatever happens.

On Impacting Thousands

How does it feel knowing that thousands of teenagers tuning into your podcast for “therapy” every week?

Honestly, I don’t think about it that often. People often ask “How do you guys be so open and share details about your personal lives on your podcast when so many people are listening?” and my co-hosts often say it’s tough, but it’s something they’re learning to adapt and get used to.

For me, it’s kind of the opposite. I never really felt the weight of all our listeners and all their comments and thoughts, but I do recognize that as our platform grows bigger and bigger, my words will have more and more of an impact and repercussions.

Saying the wrong thing could potentially hurt thousands of people, which is a little scary. I’ve learned that words can have such a big impact and that I need to be careful in choosing which ones when dealing with especially sensitive issues like we do on the podcast.

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Let's Talk About This More

In your opinion, what’s the mental health topic that most needs to be talked about?

I think there are three overarching topics we get a ton of DMs about and that we experience for ourselves.

One, overthinking. “Do my friends even like me?” or “I always feel like everyone hates me.”

Two, Feeling like a burden. “I feel like a burden to my parents, to my friends”, “I feel like my needs don’t matter.”

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Three, isolation. “I feel isolated, I feel alone.”

These are universal feelings that we all have had to deal with at some point, and it’s important for us to make sure that people have us to feel those feelings right there with them and to guide them through it.

Advice From Teenager Therapy

What advice would you like to give to your listeners?

You’re not alone. I think a lot of people need to hear it and take time to process it, because there are so many times where I feel alone in my own issues and then I hear someone talk about it and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel!”

It’s things like that that everyone needs to hear every so often. You’re not alone, you’re not a burden, and you deserve to be loved.

10 Quick Q's With Gael Aitor of Teenager Therapy

Now that you know more about Teenager Therapy, The Teen Magazine held our 10 Quick Q's with Gael for you to get to know him better... and what's on his mind.

1. What is your favorite subject?

English. More creative and free writing than analysis.

2. What are your favorite hobbies?

I love playing tennis and exercising. I absolutely love books and reading. I love going on walks, sitting in the grass, and listening to music.

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3. If you could feature anybody (dead or alive) on the podcast who would it be?

Wow, that’s so many people. For now, I’m going to stick with people who are alive—Barack Obama, Roger Federer, and possibly Elon Musk as well.

4. Songs you cannot get enough of right now?

Oh, let me take a look at my playlist real quick. “The End of the World” by Sharon Von Etten and “Real Love Baby” by Father John Misty.

I try not to listen to them that much though so I don’t ruin it.

5. If your life was a movie, what would it be titled?

My Perception of the Sky.

Whenever I look at the sky, there’s a lot of thinking and self-reflection involved. The sky reminds me of the scale we live in, allowing me to look into something that seems endless, and think about everything—the future, the past, whatever’s going on right now.

My perception of the sky would be pretty much my perception of life.

6. Your comfort TV show?

I find comfort in light TV shows, in content and appearance, like The Office.

7. Where is your happy place?

Anywhere where there’s grass that I could lay in and a beautiful sunset in the background.

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8. If you were a candle, what fragrances would you be and why?

Ideally, I would smell like pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and apples. Very cozy, warm, comforting vibes which (hopefully) describes me.

9. Something about you that most people don’t know:

Oh, people know a lot of stuff about me, so I honestly don’t really know.

Maybe that I have a personal Instagram account, separate from our Teenage Therapy account. I don’t post much, but it’s fun when I do.

10. If you could switch lives for one day with anyone from your group of five, who would it be and why?

I think I would switch lives with Thomas so I could see what it’s like to be short. I’m like 5’11, which is about half a foot taller than him, so it would be another new perspective to collect.

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Keep Up

To keep up with the crew, stream the podcast on Spotify and follow them on Instagram @teenagertherapy.

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Sophia Zhang
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Sophia Zhang is currently a high-school sophomore residing in Chicago, fifteen in age but five at heart. Besides writing, Sophia spends her days playing piano, volleyball, or her favorite TV show on Netflix.