Therapy for Teens (ages 13-17)
Some parents describe their teen as a stranger, someone whose behavior they don’t understand. Things that used to work when they were younger are not working anymore. A teenager can be a complete mystery. But their feelings are not a mystery to someone trained in understanding them and responding with compassion and skill.
When parents call and say they are worried their teen will not want to come to therapy, I say this: I help the teen know that therapy is about being heard, understood, and validated. This is especially important at a time when in so many places in their life they are not heard or understood.
It is never more important to feel accepted as during the teen years. When working with teens, one of the first things we do is list all the stressors in their life (sometimes the list is at 30 things and we haven’t even talked about school yet!)
I help teens make sense of their complicated world, not the least of which is the other teens with whom they interact. Together we come up with ideas on how to cope and how to respond in confusing situations (which, when you are a teen, is every situation).
What Issues Can Be Addressed?
Issues often addressed in therapy with teens:
What therapy with teens is NOT:
No therapist should promise a parent that these are attainable goals for teen therapy.
How Does Confidentiality Work with This Age?
For children and adolescents to feel comfortable revealing private information, they need a safe place to communicate about anything they'd like, without fear of that information leaving the room. Yet parents can feel left out and worried when they are told nothing about what happens in the room.
What I say to parents is this: without breaking confidentiality, I will tell you the general theme of what we are working on, and I will encourage the child to share with you challenges and solutions we’ve come up with. I ask young children and teens what they are willing to share with the parents and address worries about sharing any particular information. I might try to mitigate worries, but ultimately I respect the child’s decision.
How do I begin?
You can schedule a 15-minute phone consultation using the self-booking calendar.
Why can’t I schedule a full session, only a phone call?
Existing clients can schedule any type of session during available hours. Prospective clients can only schedule a free 15-minute consult call. Before scheduling a first full session, I want to make sure that I am the right therapist for you. A good fit between client and the type of issues the therapist can treat is crucial to the success of treatment.
Also, during consult, I will address medical insurance. If I cannot address your therapy needs or if I do not take your insurance, I will try to find a referral for you.