Most families come to therapy when they’ve hit a crisis, however, seeking professional help does not have to be that dramatic. It’s best to be proactive and take action before too many wounds are created and left to scar. Let’s face it, we all remember our adolescence and most memories are not exactly ones we want to be reminded of. We either struggled in silence leading to depression or by acting out in various destructive ways, leaving emotional scars that have followed us into adulthood. We might not have been given the opportunity to explore fears, anxieties, disappointments and our relationships in a confidential space that would allow us to develop positive self-worth, self-acceptance and healthy ways of relating to others.
It is true that parenting during the teenage years is challenging, on so many levels. This is why seeking professional help before a crisis can make all the difference in your relationship and their future. Don’t allow the notion that, “all teenagers are rebellious” cause you to put off seeking guidance in ways to engage with your teen. Even though your teenager relies less and less on you as her need to individuate and create her own identity moves to the foreground, your job as a parent is not over, in fact, it is crucial that you stay engaged for her successful launch into young adulthood.
Even if your teen is reluctant to seek help themselves (which they will be) showing them your commitment and interest in their emotional health will prove worthwhile and be the beginning steps to repairing the bond you both cherish and need.
How I work with teens
- Individual sessions
- Family sessions
- Group therapy
Here’s a list of frequently asked questions I get from parents…
What if my she refuses?
Great question. In my experience, resistance from teens generally only happens with the parents. By the time therapy is on the table there generally is a history (with a defiant adolescent) of resisting anything that comes directly from a parent. My recommendation, if your teen refuses, is to let them know that you too (the parent) are at a loss for how to work on the relationship and you need help. This is important because it shows that you don’t view them as the sole problem. With an adolescent, they need to know that their wants, needs and desires are respected and valued, not just yours as the parent. If you involve them in the solution and genuinely ask for what they feel will help de-escalate the relationship, you might find that they are more willing to participate.
How many sessions do you think she’ll need?
Therapy take many shapes, forms and lengths. Depending on the situation, your teens motivation for change and your involvement as a parent, the length and duration of the sessions can vary from short-term (which would be anywhere between 8-12 sessions) and long-term (4-12 months). Adolescence is such a dynamic time in development and the springboard for launching into a successful adulthood that it is important to equip your teen with the skills and tools necessary to seek out positive relationships, set achievable goals and deal with the eb and flow of success and failures in their adult life.
What I do find is that with early momentum (weekly sessions) and the conjunction of a positive peer group (group therapy), teens in my practice are able to move forward in 3-6 months. We start with weekly sessions and then as their able to utilize positive coping skills and their immediate relationships have improved, we move to bi-monthly sessions and/or weekly group therapy.
My goal is to equip you and your teen with everything you need to not need me. In conjunction with your goals we’ll engage in on-going conversations about the therapeutic process and make sure it’s continuing to be a positive experience for everyone.