Issues that teen counseling can help with:
· Poor Self-Esteem
· Peer Relationships
· Risky Behaviors
· Academic Struggles
· Gender Identity
· Family Dynamics
What is it? What does it entail? Why do it?
Teen counseling, or adolescent therapy/psychotherapy, is when a teenager meets with a trained therapist to help them figure out what is getting in the way of teens feeling their best. At The Safe Space Therapeutic Services, we design therapy for our teenage clients based on what would most benefit them and help them get the support that they need. Typically, we meet with our teenage clients on a weekly basis for 50-minute sessions. For some of our teenage clients, we recommend 75-minute sessions, and for some we recommend family therapy in conjunction with, or in place of individual therapy.
During the first session we often meet with the parent(s) or caregiver(s) together with the teen to start off the session, and ask about what brought them in for therapy. We want to make sure that our teenage clients can really hear their parent or caregivers concerns. After meeting with the parties that are present together, we meet with the teen separately, and ask them what they want to get out of therapy and what kind of change they would like to see. We have found that having a trusting relationship with their therapist is one of the primary predictors for successful teen counseling, and we begin developing this relationship on day one.
An important factor that we clarify for both the teen and their families is that whatever the teen shares in therapy is confidential. There are limits to this, such as if the teen is planning on harming themselves or someone else, or if a minor or elderly person is being abused, and these limits are named at the start of therapy. Ultimately, in order for our teenage clients to feel safe and to build a relationship with their therapist, it is important to establish trust, and we want everyone to be on the same page about this. Our therapists also clarify that if something is important and we believe it needs to be communicated to the family, that we will help our teens become empowered to communicate directly with their families and we will let our teens know before anything is shared with their families.
At the start of therapy with our teenage clients, their therapist helps the teen better understand themselves and their struggles. We want to know about their relationships and experiences, and how these things have informed the way that they approach their relationships and their worlds now. We work with our teens to develop this framework for understanding who they are and how they got here, and once we have this established, we work with our clients to understand the patterns they have developed.
With the help of their therapist, our teenage clients are able to connect the dots and are better able to recognize why they have made the choices they have made and how their experiences have shaped them. Therapists are also helping clients consider the ways they have coped in the past, and are helping their clients as they develop more helpful coping skills.
Once our teens have this framework established, they are able to consider what is working for them and what it is they want to change. Given that they are making these decisions based on their newfound understandings, clients are able to consider these changes with compassion and intention. Our therapists then support our clients in creating the changes they want, so that they may approach their lives and be effective and empowered.