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Therapy for Adolescents

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Are emotional challenges effecting your teen's ability to cope and function?  Are they attempting to cope in ways that are unhealthy and potentially dangerous? Are you struggling to support them and cope with possible conflict within your home? Have they experienced sudden loss or trauma?

As they grow, children and adolescents develop social skills and emotional intelligence. This awareness helps them to develop into healthy, happy and successful individuals. But some children have trouble processing their emotions and this often leads to behavior that negatively impacts their school life, home life and overall well-being.

Effective Forms of Therapy for Adolescents

Therapy offers teens a safe space to work through their thoughts and emotions. With the help of a specialized therapist, teens can resolve problems, modify behaviors and make positive and lasting changes.

The following are a few different types of psychotherapy I use to support teens and families. Each offers unique approaches and techniques to bring about positive outcomes. Sometimes I may choose to use just one specific treatment, and other times I may find a combination of various treatments is the best approach.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) offers individuals comprehensive skills to manage painful memories and emotions and decrease conflicts in their relationships. This modality focuses on 4 specific areas of therapeutic skills. These are:

  • Mindfulness – Helps individuals be present in the current moment.
  • Distress tolerance – Most people try and keep themselves safe from all negative emotions. Distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotions.
  • Emotion regulation – Offers strategies to manage intense emotions that are the root cause of problems in a person’s life. 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness – These techniques allow an individual to communicate with others in a confident, assertive way that maintains self-respect and strengthens relationships.

Art Therapy

When appropriate, I use specialized training in Clinical Art Therapy to provide additional avenues for the expression and depth work that healing and growth requires.  I choose artistic mediums and directives that best facilitate a client's expression and movement towards their therapeutic goals.  

Family Therapy

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I conceptualize each case through an attachment lens. I help clients gain insight into how their relationship with self and others has been shaped overtime and what steps they can take towards more healthy, stable and fulfilling relationships. This reflection and growth are especially vital to parents looking to understand and heal their own childhood wounds, while creating strong and healthy bonds with their children. When working with adolescents, I support individual healing, while also seeking positive change within the family dynamic.  Family therapy is great for helping families improve communication so they can resolve issues. Sessions can include the entire family, including children, siblings, parents, and grandparents, or just one or two individuals.

Who is Therapy Right for?

At every age, children can be faced with life’s challenges. The following are some of the events and scenarios that can impact a child’s mental health and well-being:

  • The death of a loved one
  • Bullying
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Moving or attending a new school
  • Divorce or conflict within the home
  • Social anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Eating disorders and body image

What are some signs your teen would benefit from therapy?

  • Significant changes in mood
  • Running away/school avoidance
  • Participating in dangerous and/or illegal activities:
    • Sexual
    • Drugs and alcohol abuse
    • Violence
    • Self-harm

Therapy is not a quick fix to a teen’s behavioral or emotional challenges. It is instead a thoughtful and comprehensive process that provides teens and families with insights and skills so that they may become masters of their thoughts and feelings. This, in essence, is how teens develop into happy, healthy, and successful adults.

If you would like to explore treatment options for your teen, please give my office a call.