Therapy for Adolescents
“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go” ~ Mooji
Coping During the Age of Smart Technology
While adolescents have experienced divorce, peer pressure, and bullying for decades, there’s no escape or break from these challenges in today’s age of smart technology and social media!
Challenges are in their faces not only day-to-day but also minute by minute – each time they check their phones and see pictures of a party on Facebook that they were not invited to or nasty comments posted on Instagram. Because of this, our teens and tweens need even more help to navigate the multiple challenges of family life, social life, and academic pressures.
Often adolescents don’t want to talk about their feelings. They are in therapy because their parents are concerned. Sometimes they aren’t sure exactly how they are feeling, let alone how to express these feelings. That is all okay.
When teens and tweens walk through my door, I just want them to be themselves and let go of the pressures that may overwhelm them (conscious or not) in their day-to-day world. I create a comfortable space and engage them individually finding what resonates with them to connect with each unique personality.
Parenting Challenges of Adolescents
As parents, we feel like we have tried everything, but just do not know what to say or do to emotionally connect with our children. I personally and professionally understand that. It is okay to reach out for a helping hand when it comes to therapy for adolescents.
Asking for help does not mean that you are not a good enough parent or that you are giving up in any way. It means that you know it is time to turn to someone who can create that safe, objective, and open space for your child.
Perhaps they need the room to figure out their own “stuff” or just reduce the anxiety they may be experiencing at school or at home. Additionally, I can provide them with their own tool box to manage their challenges independently over time.
Making the Connection
In my experience, the first and most important step I take when I begin working with an adolescent is trying to understand the best way to connect with them, what they expect from our sessions, and what they need from them. As I mentioned, different techniques resonate with different personalities.
Once we find our rhythm and have a strong foundation of collaboration, trust, understanding, and support (this is important and can take some time), I bring in psychodynamics, behavioral therapy, breathing exercises, and mindfulness to help adolescents cope, express, communicate and relax. Your adolescents are not “cookie cutter” and neither is my approach.
Helping Kids Manage Separation and Divorce
Maybe you have found this page because you are separated or going through a divorce and are searching for the best help for your child to understand the dynamics and navigate through this emotional time.
For children, divorce can be as uncertain, sad, and confusing as it is for the parents. At the same time, they are dealing with social acceptance, academic pressure and dating themselves. At any age, your child/children may be shocked, angry, and/or guilty. It is normal for a child to feel the loss of their parents’ marriage.
Conversely, your child/children may not know what they are feeling or fully understand how to process what they are feeling. It may be overwhelming or muddled. They may be worried about how each parent will address their feelings and feel guilty if they feel more support toward one parent or another.
Helping You Help Your Child
It may be difficult for you to speak with your child and they may sense tension between you and their dad or mom. If they are having difficulty at school or with friends, they may feel ashamed about being unaccepted in social situations. Either way, they may not feel comfortable sharing their feelings about the situation.
Seeking therapy for adolescents and for you to understand what you can do to support your child before, during, and after the divorce, or help them navigate the social and academic pressures they may be facing, is a constructive step. Each child is unique. If the issue is divorce, some may not feel the impact as much, while others feel a range of difficult emotions. We can figure that out together.
You may be asking yourself:
- How do I approach my child if I suspect or am aware of social isolation, substance abuse, or suicidal thoughts, or help them process their feelings about their parents divorcing?
- If I am going through a divorce, how do I tell my kids about it?
- How much information should I give my child about the divorce?
- What can I do after the divorce to make it easier for them?
I can help you and your child navigate their feelings of unacceptance and anxiety and deal with the transition of divorce, whether it is early in the process or whether some time has passed. When it comes to therapy for adolescents, I will provide your child with a safe, empathetic, and objective space where together we will:
- Help them find the words for their feelings
- Really listen and encourage them to share their feelings
- Encourage them to be honest and not be afraid to express
- Make talking about the divorce or other possibly embarrassing issues be accepted, embraced, and honored
- Acknowledge their feelings
- Assess for any red flags which may require deeper or alternative treatment
Take the Best Step for You and Your Children
I will work to provide you with a guide on how to help your kids cope with divorce, separation, social pressures, anxiety or negative feelings. If your child is in therapy with me, I will meet with you individually as well to share ways you can continue the work at home. As your child progresses throughout therapy and reaches a better space of resilience, I will ensure that you too evolve in the process and are better equipped to continue the journey to a healthy and happy child.
Call me so we can talk about how I can help!