Teens walk that fine line between childhood and adulthood, between their need for your help and their need to figure things out for themselves. As a therapist, my work with teens is based on my respect for them, not only of their developmental phase, but of their experience as well. I take the time to earn their trust by letting their voices be heard and honoring the significance they place on events in their lives. As teens are developing their identity, I never ask my clients to be anything other than who they are at that moment, and I expect that it could change from session to session. That’s all part of the process!
One of the trickiest parts of working with teens is their strong need for privacy. I balance a respect for their privacy with a respect for your relationship with them. Your ability to communicate and set boundaries with your teenager is of utmost importance, and so I involve parents/guardians in therapy as often as I can. I am not interested in replacing the bond you have with your teenager, only strengthening the bond that may have suffered over time. In this way, you and your teenager can share the responsibility for change without placing undue pressure on either of you. By working together, I hope to help teens find the motivation they need to create the positive identity and life they deserve.