I am guessing you found your way to my website because of another blow up, or yet another stressful night spent worrying about your teen’s mood, activities, or school performance. If you find yourself awake at night concerned about your teen, you are like countless loving parents. The life of a teenager can be mystifying to parents as his or her body, moods and mind seemingly change overnight. Peer groups morph, and become less available to parental observation. Conflict can feel like a permanent guest in your home.
To some extent, conflict and increasing distance from family serve an essential developmental role as teens work to separate and strive toward solidifying an individual sense of identity. But as peer relationships take primacy and more time is spent outside the home, parents can find themselves concerned their teen’s gift of growing independence may not be wisely used.
My teen counseling practice: As a psychologist, college professor and parent of a teen, I have taught and counseled hundreds of adolescents, and have walked alongside countless journeys toward adulthood, both smooth and rocky. I have specialty focus in a number of areas important to teen development, including teen depression, peer relationships, teen stress and anxiety, and addressing the academic challenges that accompany attentional and learning differences.
Does my teen need counseling? How do you know if teen counseling might be helpful for your son or daughter? If your teen is exhibiting signs of depression, if his or her behavior or social group has changed dramatically, or if your parental instincts are telling you something is wrong, counseling for your teen may well be in order.
Can teen counseling be useful, even if it isn’t essential? Teen counseling can be helpful in a variety of other circumstances, as well. Whatever brings your son or daughter to my office for counseling, your teen will find me to be warm, respectful and collaborative. I am likely to help him or hear learn about the importance of goal setting, and to talk about healthy brain and emotional development. Counseling can provide your son or daughter with a safe and private place to sort out plans and goals, to strategize about the complexities of designing the life they dream of, and to discover more about their self and the world in which they live.
What if my teen refuses to try counseling? If your son or daughter is unwilling to commit to teen counseling, you may be able to encourage him or her to meet a few psychologists before making a final decision. This is key for two reasons. First, it will provide him or her with an important sense of control over the process. Additionally, the key quality of a good teen counseling relationship is the connection between your teen and the psychotherapist of their choice. I encourage all of my clients to interview several psychologists as they embark on treatment, and you can give your son or daughter an important sense of control over this process by allowing him or her to choose between several highly qualified professionals. In short, if he or she doesn’t find me to be a good fit, I will very gladly provide referrals to a number of other professional I know and trust.
If you are interested in learning more about my psychotherapy work with teens, I invite you to browse my website and give me a call at 503-490-5793 for a complementary telephone consultation.