Preteen and teenage years can be rough on everyone in the family. It’s not uncommon for adolescents to feel out of place, depressed, irritable and/or anxious. Parents and (pre)teens may struggle to communicate. Even though they love to say things are “fine,” most of the time they aren’t. Middle school and high school can wear on self esteem and confidence and the reality is most adolescents don’t want to talk to their parents about their personal lives.
I’m someone who is not their parent, their friend, or their teacher. I have no judgment on where they are at in their life or choices they’ve made. Let’s face it, being that age can suck and it’s nice to have someone on your side but not in the drama.
I help teens develop skills to express themselves in ways that can be heard. Instead of living with a muddle of emotions, teens who work with me learn to articulate feelings and needs in a way that empowers them as young adults. We work on skills to reduce anxiety, move through depression, avoid or stop self-harm (ie cutting, burning, abusive relationships), and improve communication with parents and peers.
Teens usually wish to meet alone, without parents, or sometimes they wish for a space to be able to talk with their parents – I am happy to honor the decision of the teen, but always strive to keep communication open between the teen and parent(s).
Because adolescents are still minors until the age of 17, parents have a right to request that I break confidentiality with my client if they fall in that age range. However, one of the most healing aspects of therapy is the trust that the therapeutic relationship instills in the client. Breaking confidentiality against the adolescent client’s wishes would more than likely be counter productive to therapy. The only hard fast rule I have about breaking confidentiality relates to the concern that they might cause harm to themselves or others. Even then, it will be handled very delicately with the hope of not breaking trust.