I get this question a lot. As I sit to write my answer, my brain is overrun - there are too many things to say! I think this must be how teens feel. Truly, teenagers are often between a rock and a hard place. They are often limited by the rules of childhood, while at the same time they’re expected meet standards of adults. They’re experiencing so many firsts, and rightfully they stumble. Except instead of childhood stumbles, these are stumbles that have bigger consequences, and it scares the adults in their lives. This creates tension, relationship challenges, and sometimes blow-out fights. Like all humans, they seek love, they seek acceptance, they seek connection. All of this is happening amidst a flurry of future-oriented expectations (careers, college, etc.). It’s not an easy time in life! As a parent, if you’re concerned, you’re not alone. And as a teen, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone.
All in all, teens are my people. I knew when I first started working in mental health that I would absolutely be working with adolescents. I love their spirit, their resiliency, and even their resistance. Teenagers are the reason that I am here, doing the work I do.
There are certain therapies that work best with young people. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a treatment modality that is incredible for teens, and it’s one that I use regularly with clients. I also believe in the power of groups for teenagers. I run several therapy groups at a time, each separated by age group to strengthen bonds and provide developmentally-appropriate support.