If you are the parent of a teen or have spent even 10 minutes around a teen, you know that they present with some unique strengths and challenges. While many therapists chose not to work with the teen population, over the last 7 years I have developed a passion for working with teens and their families.
There are a number of things that make the teenage years unique and sometimes difficult. Some of those things include their technology use, peer pressures they experience, developmental changes, school pressures, and their fight for autonomy. At one point or another, most parents experience challenges with or develop concerns for their teenager. Therapy can be a great resource for teens and their families as they learn to navigate the choppy waters of adolescents.
As a therapist, I work both with families and with teenagers alone. With the family unit, I strive to rebuild and strengthen communication; negotiate rules, expectations, and consequences; explore healthy boundaries and how they might change as the teen gets older; and help the family move through this developmental phase in a way that promotes a balance between dependence and the teen's growing autonomy.
With teens, I work to provide a safe space which allows for them to explore themselves and their decisions without fear of judgement or criticism. I work to help them build a sense of self worth and esteem, manage anxiety and/or depressive symptoms, negotiate peer relationships, develop skills that will assist them in reaching future goals, and learn healthy decision making skills.
Teens may not always be able to communicate when they need a little extra help. So, keep your eye open for signs and symptoms that show that therapy might be the right next step to help your adolescent.
Signs your teen may need to see a therapist:
Withdrawal from the family
Isolation from peers
Drop in grades
Increased risk taking behavior
Self harming behavior
Drastic change in appearance and/or behavior
Withdrawal from activities
Poor decision making
"Change is never easy. You fight to hold on. You fight to let go."
~ The Wonder Years