We are faced with many difficult chapters during our lifetime, and it is my belief that adolescence is, more often than not, one of the most emotionally-trying times. Emerging independence, newfound identities and emotional maturity, coupled with hormonal fluctuations and rapid physical growth – we all endure it, and we all can relate to the rollercoaster ride it can be. But the struggle is incredibly unique for today’s adolescents, who are also faced with stimulating technology, pressures of social media and obscure societal expectations. If that sounds overwhelming – trust me, it is.
Many adolescents choose to seek out therapy as an opportunity to express themselves and work through their personal struggles with the guidance of a safe, unbiased person in a position of authority. Even in the healthiest, most adaptive parent-child relationship, pressures of failure, disappointment and defiance can sometimes hinder the teenager’s ability to explore his ever-changing perception of himself. As an adolescent therapist, I offer each teenager the same confidential space that I would an adult, but with the added understanding that my role is to also incorporate the parents and/or family, as appropriate, in an effort to increase trust, communication and transparency.
Adolescent therapy does not always look like traditional talk-therapy, given the ongoing development of the teenage mind and emotional maturity. In my work with this age group, I encourage them to engage in alternative forms of expression, such as art therapy, games and activities. Additionally, I look forward to giving teens the opportunity to teach me about themselves – their hobbies, their interests and what they feel makes them who they are at that moment of their lives.