Counseling for families going through the teen years
Therapy is both a way of understanding human emotions and of helping people with their relationships and their personal problems. Most therapy is done working one-on-one with a therapist. This provides the most confidential way for a person to talk about what is so troubling in their lives. My work is informed by Psychodynamic and other theories. Through these I seek to provide an environment which enhances your understanding of yourself, as I believe that people can and do make important and positive changes based on this sort of insight and on the process of seeking to acquire it. Some people respond better to more concrete coping strategies they can use throughout the week when not in therapy, while others work best by keeping the therapy focused on seeking insight and letting their life change naturally. We would work together to figure out what best works for you.
The purpose of a consultation is to provide 1) a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s difficulties, 2) a diagnosis and 3) a recommended treatment plan. Consultations generally require meeting with the patient one or two times, after which I share my understanding of their difficulties and recommendations for treatment. In some cases, the patient may wish to start treatment with me after the consultation. If I have time available for new patients I will make this clear prior to our first consultation meeting; otherwise, I will provide an appropriate referral at the conclusion of the consultation. If the patient is seeking a second opinion I will, with the patient’s consent, share my findings with the referring doctor or the patient’s therapist.
Working with teens and pre-teens is similar to working with adults. Most of the therapy is done individually. However, one of the biggest differences is that the person paying for the therapy knows little about what is actually being said in therapy. While there are some things I do share with parents (assessments, general updates, safety concerns, and ways parents can be helpful to their child's treatment) most of the things that are said in therapy I cannot share. The more your child is confident that I won't tell their parent what they say, the faster he or she can tell me what's really going on and the more effective the therapy time can be. Many teens do not want to come to therapy at first, but after meeting in person most come to appreciate having a place to talk and share what's weighing them down. Many parents have told me their teen has tried therapy with others and did not like it, but liked coming to therapy with me.
Family therapy is an approach that acknowledges that when one family member is suffering, it impacts everybody. Family therapy is done with different members of the family unit, but usually includes everybody coming in to the therapy room together. Everybody has a voice and family therapy helps members to use it to communicate to each other more effectively. Because of my extensive work with adolescents, I often provide the family therapy service while the teen is in individual or group therapy with a different therapist. Family therapy may be shorter term in nature or may work only with the parents to support them understanding how to more effectively parent their troubled teen.
Individual Therapy with Teens and Pre-Teens
Therapy with Teens and Pre-Teens
Along with being a therapist, I'm also a professor at Vanguard University, and I love teaching. I provide free or low-cost talks upon request for schools, PTAs, mental health clinics, churches, and other places. Common topics include different aspects of parenting teens (bullies, video games, attachment, anxiety, depression, and resiliency), trauma (impact on relationships, how to decrease flashbacks, practical self-care), and issues pertaining to being a therapist (how to help others without hurting yourself, and tackling the beast of paperwork). If your organization is looking for a speaker, please contact me. I would be happy to talk with you about teaching an alternative topic that is more pertinent to your group.