I love working with teens. While this age group has special and often confusing risks and challenges associated with it, adolescence is one of the most powerful times of life: full of creativity, possibility, and potential. Research shows that when teens have another adult outside of the home to talk to, they fare better in coping with all of the transitions they face moving into adulthood. This is also a time when mental health issues arise due to the developing brain. Therapeutic intervention during this stage can dramatically alter the course of people’s lives in learning how to cope with stress better, navigating relationships in healthier ways, and encouraging and cultivating interests and strengths rather than getting caught up in fear and societal pressures. In essence, this is a time to explore and find one’s voice and thrive! I am passionate about working with and supporting teens in finding their own empowered way through middle and high school and beyond.
Most of the teens I work with come in with some kind of anxiety. Many suffer from social or performance anxiety and want skills on how to cope better. Some teens are confused about peer dynamics and romance, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and want a private space to talk about what is going on in their worlds. A lot of teens feel a tremendous amount of pressure to know who they are and what they are going to do for college and the rest of their lives. With this, we explore how to have better self-care with stress and have creative and realistic expectations in life, as addressed in this blog post: A Note for Teens on their Future
Teens are legally considered adults in the state of Washington for mental health, and therefore the work is private and confidential. I like to sign a release so I can include parents as much as possible in the process without compromising the safety and trust of the confidential therapeutic relationship. Often, I do parent coaching to help navigate the muddy waters and hot topics like sex, drugs, and technology in order to best support the teen. For more specifics on how I work, you can go here.
Below are some examples of artwork done by teens in my office. I was given permission by specific teen clients to share these, with the hope that others would have the opportunity to grow like these brave young people did. Many of these works of art were made casually while chatting away about friends, romance, and school stress and how to best engage their lives. Like the artwork, each person has their own unique way of coping and growing, and our work together is to explore that.