About Therapy For Teens: For Teens Only (Parents, Don’t Read This)
We get lots of phone calls and emails from teens looking for therapy for themselves. We take it as a sign that we must be doing something right that teens themselves are searching for therapy for teens.
We offer a lot of therapy for teens, so we get it: Your parents can be tough sometimes. Even when their intentions are in the right place, parents can sometimes get in the way of their kids getting what they need. But either way, if you’re a teen seeking therapy to get help dealing with the challenging stuff that’s going on in your life, including your parents, you’re still going to need to get them on board. Beyond simply therapy for teens, we also offer:
We Speak Parent.
We’re pretty good at understanding what it is parents are concerned about and figuring out why they’re giving you a hard time. In fact, we’ll probably be concerned about some of those same things. In providing therapy for teens, what we need is to find ways of sorting through those concerns and figuring out how we can get your parents to help make things better.
We can help get Mom and Dad (or Mom or Dad, or Mom and Mom, or Dad and Dad, or Mom and Dad and Stepdad, or Mom and Dad and Mom’s girlfriend and Grandma and Aunt Stephanie who lives downstairs) on board.
Therapy For Teens Doesn’t Have To Be All Doom And Gloom
If anybody’s going to therapy, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ve got heavy stuff to deal with. It’s silly to deny that. But that doesn’t have to make the therapy dark and dreary. We can take the heavy stuff seriously and get to work on it without the accompanying freak out. We deal with heavy stuff all the time. We have to be honest about what’s not working and get serious about fixing it. Maybe fixing it will involve sadness and anger, but it can also come with a sense of humor.
Therapy For Teens Is About More Than Problems
As we said, it’s usually problems that bring teens to therapy. But at its best, therapy for teens is an amazing place to help figure out who you are and what kind of life you want to build. In fact, doing that, even if it means taking a break from talking about the problems directly, can often be the very best way to deal with those problems.
We’re Not Old And Stiff
Everyone in our practice has been around the block enough times to have the skills and experience as therapists and in life to have gotten good at this (and enough to help your parents feel satisfied that you’re seeing someone qualified). But, let’s just say… we’re not old fogies. We’re not going to greet you from behind a desk, take endless notes (or any notes, most likely) or sit through your session with a giant copy of the DSMV on our laps. We’re also not likely to freak out about anything that’s going on in your life.
So, Do I Have To Bring My Mom?
While parents are not always involved in therapy for teens, it is usually important to include family in some way when offering therapy for teens to be sure they are in the loop in terms of how to best support you and what you are making happen in and out of therapy. We want you to be in the driver’s seat as much as possible in your therapy decisions. What’s best for you can look like a lot of different things–sometimes bringing in the whole family is called for so we can think about that option as well. Regardless, you will always be involved in making these decisions.
And What About Confidentiality In Therapy?
With almost anything that comes up in therapy, including therapy for teens, it stays in the room—not to be shared with anyone including your parents.
Ok, so we said almost anything. First, if you’re talking about seriously hurting yourself or someone else, or are involved in something life-threatening, we’re going to call your parents (and maybe 9-1-1). That’s not something we have a choice around, legally. Beyond that, there may be lots of things that come up where it’s probably a good idea that we talk to your parents. When that happens, we have to decide together how to proceed. What do you need to be safe? What do they need to know as people who have a pretty important role in your life? What can we guess the consequences might be in telling them? Or in not telling them? And of course, we’ll need to decide together how to tell them.
The short of it: There are some things that need to be secret, some things that can’t be, and some things that fall in a grey area. For those, we’ll figure it out together (and never go behind your back—no matter how many times mom calls begging us to do so).
What About Meds?
Sometimes people ask about medications. We don’t require, push, or reject medications. Sometimes they’re incredibly helpful. Other times, not so much. And they always come with side effects and very real consequences. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your parents, and we’ll help everyone decide what’s best.
It should be noted that we don’t prescribe meds (only a doctor or nurse practitioner can do that). We know a few good ones who can work closely with us if need be.