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Vision & Guidance




QUESTION - What is Adolescent Therapy?
ANSWER - Adolescent Therapy is a type of Psychotherapy representing a variety of techniques and methods used to help teenagers who are experiencing difficulties with their emotions or behavior. In Adolescent Therapy, activities as well as talking are important ways of sharing feelings and resolving problems.


QUESTION - Why should I consider therapy for my teenager?
ANSWER - Teenagers today face a range of difficult problems in their lives that might include sadness, anxiety, school stress and conflicts with family or friends. They need to learn how to understand, control and share their emotions appropriately. They also may struggle to control their behavior and meet the expectations of their parents and teachers. Some adolescents just need a little help to get back on track and others have more severe mental health issues such as depression, substance abuse and eating disorders. An Adolescent Therapist can help teenagers work through these issues and make better choices in their lives. An Adolescent Therapist can also act as a trusted mentor who helps teenagers grow, mature and overcome obstacles.


QUESTION - How long will therapy for my teenager take?
ANSWER - The length of Adolescent Therapy tends to be short-term, but as with all psychotherapy, depends on the complexity and severity of problems as well as treatment objectives.


QUESTION - Who should attend Adolescent Therapy?
ANSWER - Teenage Therapy may include working with some combination of the teenager's parents as well as the adolescent. Adolescent Therapy may be child-centered and/or adult-centered. It may focus on the behaviors and emotions displayed by the teenager and/or the parent-child interactions identified through the parent's responses to the teenager.


QUESTION - How do I introduce therapy to my teenager?
ANSWER - Some teenagers are excited to meet with an Adolescent Therapist, but it is also common for teenagers to be stubborn or reluctant. Sometimes an adolescent's insecurities, sense of invulnerability and/or their perceptions of adults make visits to a "doctor" or stranger unwelcome. How a parent approaches the subject, however, can make a difference.

The relationship that develops between the Adolescent Therapist and the teenager is very important. The teenager must feel comfortable, safe and understood in a trusting environment. This will make it easier for the teenager to express his/her thoughts and feelings and to use therapy in a helpful way. Therefore, a positive introduction by the parents is the first important step toward successful Adolescent Therapy.

Parents should explain to the teenager that they will be going to see a therapist, the particular problem that is interfering with the teenager's growth and that the therapist is going to help make things better for both of them. Even if the teenager denies obvious problems, s/he can just agree to meet the therapist and to see what therapy is like.


QUESTION - As a parent, how am I involved in my teenager's therapy?
ANSWER - The Adolescent Therapist often begins the therapy process by meeting with one or both parents, and then moves to work with the teenager alone or in combination with the parent(s).

Parents - Initial Session(s)
During the initial meeting with parents, the Adolescent Therapist will want to learn as much as possible about the nature of their teenager's problems. The Adolescent Therapist will ask for information about his/her developmental, medical, social and school history, whether or not previous evaluations and interventions were attempted and the nature of those results. Background information about the parents and family is also important in providing the Adolescent Therapist with a larger context from which to understand the teenager.

During this session, the Adolescent Therapist can also answer any of the parents' questions or concerns, including how to best approach their teenager about therapy. This process of gathering information usually takes one to three sessions.

Parents - Continued Involvement
Subsequent sessions with parents are important opportunities to keep the Adolescent Therapist informed about their teenager's current functioning at home and at school as well as for the Adolescent Therapist to offer some insight and guidance to the parents. The Adolescent Therapist may provide suggestions about parenting techniques and alternative ways to communicate with their teenager, as well as provide information about adolescent development.


QUESTION - How will you work with my teenager in therapy?
ANSWER - Adolescent Therapy differs in many ways from therapy for adults, and by understanding these differences a parent can approach the treatment of a troubled teen with an open mind and fresh insight.

Transference is a therapeutic phenomenon by which clients "transfer" emotional feelings they have toward others in their life toward the therapist. Because teenagers are in the process of developing independence and detaching from their parents as they mature, the nature of this detachment may make them reluctant to form a bond with another "parental figure," such as the therapist. For this reason, Adolescent Therapists sometimes find that an activity can be a helpful component to the therapeutic process. Depending on the teenager, art therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and other experiential programs can be effective adjuncts to "talk" therapy.


QUESTION - What about confidentiality in Adolescent Therapy?
ANSWER - Privacy is usually a primary concern for teenagers. It is helpful to reassure adolescents that they will not need to report back to their parents, although they are certainly encouraged to do so if they wish. The Adolescent Therapist will need to establish rules early in therapy regarding what type of feedback will be given to the parents about the sessions. It is also important for adolescents to know in advance what type of the information they reveal might be shared with their parents or teachers.


QUESTION - How do I get feedback about my teenager's therapy?
ANSWER - Understandably, parents want information and feedback regarding their teenager as Adolescent Therapy progresses. To maintain the teenager's privacy, the Adolescent Therapist will not routinely discuss details of the teenager's sessions with parents. This promotes freedom of expression for the teenager within the therapist's office and engenders a sense of trust in the therapist.

Instead, the Adolescent Therapist will communicate to the parents her understanding of the teenager's psychological needs or conflicts and provide suggestions or recommendations where appropriate.


QUESTION - What specific issues does Adolescent Therapy address?
ANSWER - Parents may seek therapy for their teenager to address some of the following concerns:


  • Communication & verbal expression
  • Self-observation & insight
  • Impulse control
  • Capacity to trust and to relate to others
  • Social skills
  • Identity issues
  • Self-esteem
  • Emotional support
  • Conflict resolution
  • Relations with friends or family
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Depression and irritability
  • Anger and aggression
  • Coping with frustration
  • Poor school performance or learning disabilities
  • Low academic effort
  • Oppositional and conduct problems
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Abuse and trauma
  • Separation or divorce of parents
  • Emotional issues related to medical problems
  • Death of a friend or family member


QUESTION - How will I know when my teenager's therapy is done?
ANSWER - Teenage Therapy may be considered complete when the goals of therapy are reached. Generally, the Adolescent Therapist measures this by how well the teenager's symptoms have subsided for a stable period of time and when functioning is adequate with peers and adults at home, in school, and in extracurricular activities.

At the end of therapy, the Adolescent Therapist will take the opportunity to say goodbye to the teenager and parents by offering her thoughts, feelings and words of hope and encouragement for the future.






(317) 875-9555