Helping Teens

Helping Teens
For generations, teens have rebelled against the ways of their parents in an attempt to define themselves as unique individuals – this is nothing new and today’s teens are no exception. Yet in the span of just one generation, our social culture has dramatically changed, leaving many parents at a loss.

Today’s young people are growing up in a fast paced and wildly interactive world of texting, Facebook and Twitter. Bombarded with messages, images and opinions from everyone around them, many kids have little time alone with their families, potentially causing great distance and conflict at home.

How I Can Help

First, I can help you as the parent navigate the rough waters of how to maintain an active and caring connection to your teenager while setting healthy limits. Secondly, I can provide teens with uninterrupted time to slow down and get to know themselves, separate from the influence of friends and culture. In individual sessions, I support, guide and challenge young people to become themselves.

Sometimes this means sorting out the underlying motives for their behavior (i.e. excitement seeking, wanting to fit in, feeling inadequate) and also considering the consequences of their actions. Other times the work is to uncover the thoughts and beliefs that foster low self-esteem and to challenge these as we discover their unique strengths and qualities.

WILL YOU TELL ME IF MY TEEN IS USING DRUGS OR HAVING SEX?

Therapy tends to work best when the teen knows that the details of their sessions will be kept confidential. At the same time, parents need to know about the progress of the therapy and to know if their child is in danger.

Therefore, my general philosophy is that the older the teen is, the more privacy they should have in therapy, as long as they are safe. If your teen is in danger (suicidal, trouble with the law, self-harming or life threatening behaviors), you will be informed.

MY KID DOESN’T WANT THERAPY.
SHOULD I INSIST?

Yes and no. If your child is not in imminent danger (suicidal, trouble with the law, self harming behaviors), insist that he/she come to at least three sessions and then after that, let the choice be theirs. Though it is not unusual for a teen to be reluctant to start therapy, I find many quickly grow to enjoy and value the experience. But I have also found that forcing therapy on a teen who really doesn’t want to be there is a wasted effort.

If your teen is self-harming, you need to be insistent on getting help, even if your teen resists. We can discuss your situation and consider if out patient therapy is appropriate, or if more aggressive intervention is needed.