Adolescents and Psychotherapy
Parents often call me with the request to see their adolescent child who they feel is not doing well, and needs therapy. The parents often have a clear idea of what the psychotherapy needs to fix. Adolescents might have certain ideas about psychotherapy as well which might make them a bit reticent. Not in the least the fact that they might see the therapist as 'on the same side' as their parents. They might feel that the therapist is also there to 'fix' them, as if there is something wrong with them. This along with a common characteristic of many therapists that they 'want to help,' might be that the therapy with the adolescent gets off to a bad start.
As a therapist it is important to create initially a space where the adolescent can formulate his or her own demand for therapy. I typically ask adolescents to commit to six sessions so that they can explore whether they want to come in for themselves, not because the therapist or the parents think that they need it. Often parents feel uncomfortable with this, they feel that they have to make the adolescent go to therapy. However, therapy is something that cannot be forced on anyone.
In case the adolescent does not want to come in, it might still be possible to work with the parents to explore how they can help their adolescent. At times I meet regularly with the parents, and the adolescent knows that he or she is welcome to join whenever he or she is ready. Even, if they do not join, often the fact that they know their parents go and talk about them can help them.
To schedule an appointment call us at (530) 321-2970