I utilize a multidimensional approach when working with adolescence and older teens.  There are several types of psychotherapy that involve different approaches, techniques, and interventions. At times, a combination of different psychotherapy approaches may be helpful.  Treatment domains include self-esteem, anxiety, depression, self-harm and trauma.

During adolescence, the transition from childhood to adulthood is most important. They are becoming more independent and are becoming increasingly more curious about who they are as individuals and how they “fit in” to society.  It is during this stage that adolescence re-examines his/her identity, trying to find out exactly who he or she is. This is the 5thstage of psychosocial development, Identity vs. Role Confusion.

Being a teen can be really stressful! Mindfulness is a powerful way to handle stress, enabling one to live more fully in the present moment, without judgment, and with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. It’s about breathing and noticing what’s happening right here and now.   What am I feeling right now, at this very moment?  Where do I feel it most in my body?  What is this feeling trying to say and what does it need? A growing body of evidence suggests that mindfulness practice could be beneficial to teens, helping them cultivate empathy, as well as skills for concentration and impulse control. In short, mindfulness can help adolescents navigate the challenges of adolescence.

Art as an expressive language provides an entrée into a relationship with teenagers by tapping into their creativity and offering a form of communication that is nonthreatening.  Art as a language of therapy, combined with verbal dialogue, uses all of our capacities to find a more successful resolution to our difficulties. This therapeutic approach appeals to many teens as a way to externalize their inner world. A teen does not need to have any artistic talent to benefit from this approach.  As a type of expressive therapy, art therapy works very well with some teens because it is:

  • Non-threatening with less of a direct focus on the teen.
  • A safe outlet for expressing what they are feeling inside.
  • A process over which the teen feels a sense of control.
  • The session is both interesting and creative.
  • A way to discover underlying thoughts and feelings.
  • Easier to develop a strong relationship with the therapist.

Creating a therapeutic alliance is an essential component of the therapeutic process.  Establishing rapport provides grounds for meaningful engagement within all aspects of the treatment process. This type of therapy relies heavily on developing a strong relationship between client and clinician. A great amount of honesty and trust is instrumental in facilitating growth and change.