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Rediscover the Pathways to Connect

The pre-teenage and teenage years are an essential time for self-discovery, identity formation, and social development.  Although with raging hormones, emotional roller coasters, strained family relationships, and social/academic pressures, adolescence is a challenging developmental stage to say the least!  Most teenagers experience confusion, inner turmoil, and conflict as they attempt to cope with peer relationships, school demands, difficult decisions, and complex family dynamics.  It is common for teenagers to feel like they are alone and that no understands them, which makes this developmental period all the more stressful and complicated.  During this transitional period, adolescents may isolate from their loved ones making it really tough for families to connect and communicate.  Even though teenagers may have difficulty accepting it, parental love, guidance, and understanding are deeply important.

teens in internet-cafe Growing up is both an exciting and scary process!  Adolescents are constantly influenced by their interactions with friends, family, media, culture, and our society as a whole.  Today’s world presents a variety of unique pressures for teens and stressors for parents, especially with the prevalence of social media and modern technology.  With technological advances, teens are now facing unique situations that adults have difficulty relating to such as cyber bullying and “sexting”.  Because of these virtual challenges, parents need to be more involved than ever through providing unconditional love and support coupled with stability and structure.

Parenting during the pre-teen and teenage years can be one of the toughest jobs ever!  Parents worry constantly about how their teens will develop, whether they will make the right choices, and what kind of a person they will grow up to be.  The parental job is 24/7 with no potential raise for a job well done.  Most parents won’t feel appreciated until many years down the road.  This full-time job can be extremely frustrating, exhausting, and discouraging at times.  Although parents may have the best of intentions, sometimes their strategies aren’t as effective as they would like and can even make matters worse.  Parents do the best they can and it’s important to recognize when they need additional support.

teens - friendsAdolescent therapy focuses on enhancing the interpersonal relationships of the teen with their parents and other family members.  My training in family systems allows me to assess the interactions between each member to support the family in developing healthier and more effective communication skills as a whole. I use a collaborative and strength-based approach to explore how each member connects, communicates, and individuates.  My role is to provide a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental space for adolescents to feel more comfortable about opening up and supported when talking about the important experiences they are going through.  During the therapeutic process, I will meet individually with the adolescent to get a better idea of what they want and with the family to create lasting systemic changes.

Although parents have the right to know about the content being discussed during sessions, I ask that parents respect their teen’s privacy in the therapy room.  Opening up to a therapist takes courage for clients at any age and is especially tough for adolescents, because talking to a therapist is an emotional risk.  If teenagers know that everything they say in the therapy room goes straight to the parents, it inevitably has a censoring effect and they are much less likely to speak about issues that are private and important to them.  Consequently, little progress can be made.

There are three exceptions to confidentiality.

1. The therapist considers the teenager to be at a high risk for suicide.  In this case, the therapist will break confidentiality and make sure that the teenager receives the help they need to keep them safe.

2. The therapist considers the teenager to be at a high risk for homicide.  In this case, the therapist will break confidentiality and take steps to assure the safety of the potential victim.

3. The teenager reports child abuse to the therapist.  Therapists are mandated reporters and are under a legal obligation to report child abuse to the child abuse hotline.  If this happens the department of children and families will send an investigator to the home of the teenager to investigate the claim.  The therapist has no influence over the outcome of the investigation.

Adolescents may benefit in these ways:Bubbles

  • Your teenager’s mood will brighten and stabilize
  • Your teenager’s behavior problems will be reduced
  • Your teenager will learn to express himself/herself effectively
  • Your teenager will be empowered to make healthier choices
  • Your teenager will learn to recognize and accept her/his emotions
  • Your teenager will develop inner strengths that last for the rest of his/her life
  • Your teenager’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other mental health issue can be reduced or eliminated all-together

Parents may benefit in these ways:

  • You will lessen or eliminate your worries and fears about your teenager
  • You will feel assured that you are parenting in the right way
  • You will feel supported in expressing your feelings as a parent
  • You will move toward improving your relationship with your teenager

Your family may benefit in these ways:

  • Less conflict and family fighting
  • More effective communication
  • Relationships between family members are strengthened
  • More peace and tranquility in the house
  • More enjoyable family experiences
  • A more supportive and open family environment

Adolescent Therapy Testimonials:

“We are so impressed with the positive changes our daughter has made. She has been able to face her issues, find healthier ways to express emotion, and is feeling better and back to herself again. Dr. Kate helped her to take her power back and to find love and acceptance for herself. Thank you for helping us move forward from this difficult situation.-Proud Parents of Adolescent Daughter

“My 14 year old daughter loved working with Dr. Kate. She felt comfortable, which allowed her to open up and express her feelings. She also felt empowered by Dr. Kate’s guidance. The most helpful aspect of her therapy was the gentle guidance and understanding that Dr. Kate showed for her.” -Mother of an Empowered Teen