Working with teenagers and pre-teens is one of the greatest parts of my job. No matter what difficulties a teenager may be experiencing, there is always a unique outlook and a certain resiliency that shines through when they come to counseling.
Adolescents need to feel comfortable with a therapist before they are ready to share their deepest feelings. As the father of three children in this age group, I have a pretty good idea of what to say and what NOT to say. Most of all, I find that I am able to develop a good rapport quickly with most teenagers. When I first meet with a young person, I let them know that our conversations are completely confidential (with the exception of anything that might pose a physical threat to themselves or others). I share information with parents only with the agreement of the teenager. While this is difficult for some parents to understand, I have learned that it is the only way to build trust and get to the real issues that are causing difficulties. Otherwise, teenagers will only tell me what they think I, and their parents, want to hear.
I have witnessed the lives of so many teenagers transformed in therapy. If your child is struggling in school, having social problems, seems depressed, isolated, or unusually angry at home, I encourage you to have them come see me. It truly can make a world of difference.