The teen years are a time of rapid transition. Teenagers are trying to figure out who they are as a person, how are they different to their peers and parents, what they believe in, what do they want to do with their lives, how do they get to the person they want to become. For some adolescents this can be a very difficult stage. They feel isolated, different, not accepted, misunderstood. They have problems relating to other peers and/or family members. They recourse to negative behaviors and decisions in order to deal with feelings that they don’t even understand themselves. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, are all fairly common among teenagers. Finding a person that both the teen and parent can trust can be challenging. It’s important for the teen to know that whatever is said during therapy can be kept confidential and not discussed with his or her parents and it’s important for the parents to know that I know that there are things that the parent needs to know to help the teen. I have worked with teens for many years and I’m a parent of teens myself.
I have had success establishing trusting relationships with teens where I was able to help them navigate this stressful stage and deal with very difficult situations. I will tell parents that this relationship of trust is extremely important for progress and therefore not to ask for information about what is discussed during therapy. However, if I ever found out something where the parent knowing will benefit the teen, I will talk to them about it and ask them to be the ones to disclose this to the parent. I can also set up a family therapy meeting where I can help him or her with the disclosure. It’s important to know that ultimately I will keep what’s best for the teen in mind. Therapy can benefit the adolescent greatly with increased self-confidence, better relationships (love and family), better decision making skills, understanding personal responsibility, and identifying future goals and starting work toward these goals.