Mari Boyd, MA, LMFT
Watch this video about building lifelong communications with teenagers.
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Therapy with Teenagers: A Guide for Parents
In therapy for teenagers, trust is a fundamental first step. Trust is built very slowly with teenagers so a therapist must work slowly, at a pace set mostly by the teen. It is only in the context of a relationship that progress in teen counseling will be made.
Adults benefit from their ability to talk through their thoughts, feelings and emotional problems during a therapy session. Adolescents find it more difficult to verbalize their feelings. Often they come to the therapeutic environment with anger, mistrust and confusion. They can be overwhelmed by their changing and complex feelings.
For teens, therapy needs to be a reflection of their current life experience. Often 'talk therapy' does not tend to be as effective as therapy that involves activity. This also reflects the way teens interact with each other. Through the use of activities, games and art, interactive therapy provides a more natural environment for the adolescent to begin to build a relationship with the therapist and begin communicating. This marks the beginning of the therapeutic process, when the teen can begin to be open and honest about things that are bothering them. This is when the healing can begin.