Therapy and Adolescence:

Adolescence is often a time of turmoil, confusion and intense anger directed at parents, teachers and people in authority.


Developmentally, the adolescent is immersed in the process of separating from his/her parents or guardian and attempting to establish a sense of who he/she is. However, research tells us that while the conditions are often ripe for establishing independence, the adolescent brain has not yet fully developed to a point where logic and careful decision making preempt emotions and impulsivity. What sometimes begins as a struggle with developmental adjustment can evolve into a serious crisis or psychological problem.


As they develop their sense of self, adolescents can experience self-doubt, risk-taking behavior, anxiety, fear, depression and frustration with the adult world.


Common issues dealt with in adolescence include: parental pressure, academic under-achievement, anger management, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation/attempt, self-injurious behaviors, eating disorders, negative peer influences, peer conflict, school avoidance, lack of assertiveness and bullying, identity issues, substance abuse, divorce reaction, blended families and physical/emotional/sexual abuse.


Several specific child related issues include:


Individual work with an adolescent also involves establishing trust at the onset and guiding the young person through identity formation while assisting them in connecting feelings to their actions.


Developing a therapeutic relationship can help an adolescent explore their feelings/emotions through talking, journal writing, guided imagery and activities outside of the office setting.



The Family System and the Adolescent:

Parents themselves often experience the same emotions that the adolescent experiences: frustration, anger, anxiety, disappointment and self doubt. They often are divided in their approach to their child and are concerned about the impact on the other children.


Meeting as a family can help develop a team approach to the situation, involve the children in the process and open up new pathways of communication.



DCYF and the Judicial System:

Some families experience an escalation of behaviors that require the involvement of the State and/or the Courts.


In work with court-ordered or DCYF involved families, it is important that all parties work together on behalf of the family system to move towards safety and permanency leading to well-being. Strong collaborative partnerships must be fostered in order to provide the family with cohesion of need identification and appropriate service delivery.



Hospitals, Partial Hospitalization, and Outpatient programs:

There are adolescents who experience the emotional trauma at a level that can benefit from medical interventions from a psychiatrist or from a hospital setting. It is often helpful for the family to have a resource to assist and consult with them and the related professionals so that appropriate treatment approaches can be successfully implemented.