While I have experience in the different modalities of treatment (i.e. adult, family, couple & child), a great deal of my experience has come in the way of providing adolescent/teen therapy. I am extremely grateful for the experience I have obtained thus far, reason being I truly enjoy working with this client population. Perhaps it is because I get to not be an “adult” for a brief moment in time when seeing a teenage client. What I mean by this is that I attempt to not be yet another authority figure in their life. My success with adolescents and teenagers hinges on how authentic I can be with them. While authenticity is something I highly value no matter what the age of a client, with teenagers specifically this is the upmost importance. What a teenage client can expect to get from me is a mental health professional who will not attempt to act like a “professional.” Instead they will get a real person who honestly just wants to hear their unique story, and offer whatever assistance I can afford them. As adults, we are quick to forget how difficult the life of a teenager can be. When faced with the stressful demands of adulthood, it is easy to minimize the problems of our teenage children. However, the demands of being a teenager can be just as stressful when you consider the pressures of school, friendships, and identity development. In fact, with teenage clients I often find that it is the fragile nature of identity that lends to the development of problem areas such as academic underachievement, family conflict, anxiety, depression, substance use, self harm, suicidal thoughts and more.
I seek to involve the parents in the process as much as I feel it will benefit the client. Mending conflictual relationships between parent and child is almost always a primary goal of therapy. With that said, I must note that confidentiality between client and therapist is of the utmost importance as well. Parents are of course entitled to be updated on the process of therapy throughout, however, nothing will be accomplished if the client believes anything they say can be repeated back to their parents. As with clients of all ages, trust is imperative to the therapeutic process, which is why I thoroughly explain to parents that confidentiality will remain between myself and client with the exception of any concerns related to child abuse, or potential danger to self or others.
With all that said, I would love to meet with your teenage son or daughter and see how I can help them overcome the challenges they are facing. The first challenge to overcome as a parent is getting your teenager to commit to therapy. This is not difficult to understand as I would not want to be forced to come meet with some stranger and talk about my “problems” either. Speaking to you (son or daughter) specifically, I would ask that you simply give me a chance…there is not much to loose other than an hour or so in your week.