Counselling For You & Your Teen
While my practice and experience is quite varied, there has always been an emphasis in working with adolescents. 25 years, in fact. The developing teen brain and the beautiful chaos that ensues, has always been a passion of mine.
A long career as a guidance counsellor and a teacher at both elementary and junior high schools, has given me years of practical, everyday experience with the problems and concerns of adolescents. Add on a decade of being an adolescent-specific psychologist, and I realize I now have a bit of a specialty.
I understand the last thing most teenagers want to do is talk to a stranger about a problem. Saying that, young clients and I often share a comfortable connection. I like to think it’s due to my sense of humour, along with my keen fashion sense and winning personality. Okay, I’m kidding, of course. But I do feel that most teenagers I see for that first session, end up wanting to come back.
I believe that working successfully with adolescents often requires working with families. Although it can feel like teenagers live in their own world, in reality they’re embedded in a family unit. Understanding and working within that family system is critical. My approach to helping families work better includes:
- Learning how to connect, really connect, with your teen.
- Letting your child have a voice, so they can be heard in a healthy way.
- Setting clear boundaries, and finding a good balance of when to be firm, and when to be flexible.
- Why the ‘emotional’ brain is just as important (if not more) than the ‘logical’ brain.
- Encouraging realistic expectations.
- Understanding one another’s needs, and putting yourself in each other’s shoes.
- Learn script of what to say, what not say, and how to improve on how you say it,
- Getting more involved in your teen’s emotional worlds.
- Knowing how and when to ask the right questions.
- Allowing for mistakes and learning when more patience is required.
- Recognizing what is normal adolescent behavior and what isn’t
- Knowing when to ask for additional support and resources
My basic belief in working with all teens is: Teens who handle their emotions competently, grow more confidently in all areas of life. So this will always be my goal.