Is it time for your teen to get back on track?
Everybody needs a wakeup call once in awhile. When teens are going through a hard time, it is important that they figure out a way to not get too deep into a hole. They really can benefit from talking to someone, but will likely resist the idea of therapy for many reasons. The idea about therapists might be that they are “old”, “weird”, or “just don’t get it.” Unfortunately, this is too often true to a teen. In fact, a teen might not be talking to his or her parents due to some of the same perceptions.
Having worked with teens in public and private schools, at a crisis counseling agency, and in private practice, I can tell you that the most important factor in successful counseling with teens is finding a therapist with whom they can “click” and gain their trust.
- Teen motivation issues: what works for each teen and how they can apply their strengths to improve their weaknesses
- Problem solving for academic, social, or family issues
- How to be an effective and supportive parent, including for gifted and/or athletic teens
- Teen development and successful family systems
But even more important than training, perhaps, is that I love teens and accept the unique individuals they are becoming. I talk sports with them, share favorite movies and music, and we use Solution-Focused counseling, a strength-based therapy. We focus on the present and future and use your teen’s skills and accomplishments in order to highlight ways they can help them help themselves. Teens are very stubborn and want to do it on their own, remember?
I use a Session Evaluation sheet that teen clients can use to fill out after each session. It’s optional, and it helps teens feel in control of their therapy and ensure that they are making good use of their sessions.
The most effective work with teens always happens when they are willing to come to therapy and ready to openly and honestly participate. Give them a chance to try a therapist (or two) and see if that therapist can make counseling worthwhile for them. Don’t force a teen to see someone they don’t like. (See my Spring 2008 newsletter about “never dragging a cat”!) But I hope you will give me a try.
I welcome the challenge and opportunity to work with your teen.