As any parent with a teenager knows, the adolescent years can be awkward, conflictual, confusing, heartbreaking, and downright scary. Being the parent of a younger child isn’t without it’s share of challenges and potential hazards as well. One of the big advantages of therapy for adolescents and younger children is the opportunity to address issues and shift away from negative patterns and behaviors before they’ve become deeply entrenched. I often see teens and children come to counseling for any of the following reasons:
- Parental Conflict or Divorce
- Death of a Loved One
- Stress and Anxiety
- Geographical Move
- Parent-Child Conflict
- Academic Problems
- Aggressive Acting Out
- Social Problems or Shyness
- Boredom and Apathy
- Internet and Technology Addiction
- Substance Use or Abuse
- Depression and Low Self-Esteem
- Suicidal Ideation or Self-Harm
- Dating and Relationship Problems
Successfully connecting with youth and establishing rapport requires a mixture of transparency, genuineness, clear boundaries, cultural understanding, and a real passion for the work. Confidentiality, therapeutic boundaries, and parental concerns are discussed and clarified during the first few sessions until all participants come to a shared understanding and agreement about the nature of our work together.
With teenagers, therapy may take place individually, or include one or both parents. For younger children, sessions generally include at least one other family member, and my approach typically emphasizes fostering a sense of safety, creative expression, and strengthening parent-child bonds. With parental involvement, children can show signs of improvement remarkably quickly, while parents develop increased insight, emotional closeness, and skill at parenting.
Therapy with children or adolescents can last anywhere from a couple of sessions to a couple of years, and most often is scheduled weekly for an hour. With regular attendance, changes that I typically begin to see after a few months are:
- Decreased Stress
- Increased Self-Confidence
- Fewer Behavioral Issues
- Improved Communication
- Greater Emotional Balance
- Increased Trust, Hope and Optimism
- Better School Performance
- More Authentic Friendships
- Success at Setting and Reaching Goals
- Greater Clarity and Decision-Making Ability
- Deepened Self-Awareness and More Comfort in Their Own Skin.
If you are considering whether counseling might be useful for your teenager or child, or for your family, I encourage you to read more about my Approach to therapy or call 415-312-0318 with questions or for a free initial phone consultation.