How Does Therapy & Teens Work? (For teens to read)
Fortunately therapy with teens works just like any other therapy! Here are some of the issues and problems that I can help with:
- Eating Disorders/problems with eating
- Anxiety, depression & stress
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship problems at home or school
- Trauma caused by a sexual assault, abuse or witness to violence
- Grief due to a lost loved one or relationship
- Difficulty adjusting to a new school or home environment
What You Should Know About My Style
Since teens are often shy or embarrassed about their symptoms or problems, they may be reluctant to reach out to a therapist. Here is some helpful information about my style:
I Speak Parent
Yup, I’m pretty good at understanding what it is they’re concerned about and at figuring out why they’re giving you a hard time. In fact, we’ll probably be concerned about some of those same things. In providing therapy for teens, what we need is to find ways of sorting through those concerns and figuring out how we can get your parents to help make things better.
Therapy isn’t just about all the bad stuff thats happening in your life
As I said, it’s usually problems that bring teens to therapy. But at its best, therapy is an amazing place to help figure out who you are and what kind of life you want to build. In fact, doing that, even if it means taking a break from talking about the problems directly, can often be the very best way to deal with those problems.
Although I feel old, I am not stiff!
Its pretty clear that I have been around the block enough times to have the skills and experience as a therapist and in life to have gotten good at this (and enough to help your parents feel satisfied that you’re seeing someone qualified). But, let’s just say… I am not likely to freak out about anything that’s going on in your life.
I believe you get out of therapy what you put in
Therapy is a serious commitment in both time and money. However, investing in your mental health may prove invaluable. Seeking help for ongoing issues now may offset other or more serious circumstances down the line. It has become clear just how important it is to address mental health issues as soon as possible. Research shows that when left untreated, psychological disorders can lead to more severe illness, which can be more difficult to treat later on in life.
I don’t think parents have to sit in on sessions; but sometimes it’s exactly what is needed
While parents are not always involved in therapy for teens, it is usually important to include family in some way when offering therapy for teens to be sure they are in the loop in terms of how to best support you and what you are making happen in and out of therapy. I want you to be in the driver’s seat as much as possible in your therapy decisions.
Therapy is confidential for you as well
With almost anything that comes up in therapy, including therapy with teens, it stays in the room—not to be shared with anyone including your parents.
BUUUUUT…..if you’re talking about seriously hurting yourself or someone else, or are involved in something life threatening, I am going to call your parents (and maybe 9-1-1). That’s not something I have a choice around, legally. Beyond that, there may be lots of things that come up where it’s probably a good idea that we talk to your parents. When that happens, we have to decide together how to proceed. What do you need to be safe? What do they need to know as people who have a pretty important role in your life? What can we guess the consequences might be in telling them? Or in not telling them? And of course, we’ll need to decide together how to tell them.
The short of it: There are some things that need to be secret, some things that can’t be, and some things that fall in a grey area. For those, we’ll figure it out together (and never go behind your back—no matter how many times mom calls begging me to do so).
My stance on medication
Sometimes people ask about medications. I don’t require, push, or reject medications. Sometimes they’re incredibly helpful. Other times, not so much. And they always come with side effects and very real consequences. Ultimately it’s up to you and your parents, and I’ll help everyone decide what’s best.
It should be noted that I don’t prescribe meds (only a doctor or nurse practitioner can do that).