The world that our teenagers are navigating is one of public shame, rejection, and a constant feeling of “do I belong or do I even matter”. The adolescent stage of development can be a very difficult and trying time in some families and for some individuals. Teenagers are feeling a desire to move toward independence, which might show up as self-destructive or risky behaviors. This stage of development is often categorized by a person’s search for identity vs. role confusion. They try on a multitude of ways to interact with their world and it often leaves parents feeling helpless, worried and unsure what the right ways to support their teens will be. Families often find that with this stage comes more tension, worry, anxiety and depression.
Teens during this stage may be navigating larger mental health concerns for the first time. There is support to help them navigate the difficult time and learn tools for managing the chaos in their inner world. Teenagers often communicate less often in words with parents and more often through behaviors. This can be a scary time for those who care deeply for their children and want their teen to learn how to manage impulsiveness.
In these sessions, there is usually a combination of individual sessions for the teen in which they learn the skill of self reflection and exploration and family sessions in which the family can learn new ways of communicating and addressing the best way to support their teen as they learn how to become more independent. The teen will start to ask questions and begin the process of discovering “who am I and what do I want from my life”. The family will work together to identify unhelpful patterns that keep them from feeling connected and develop new ways to enrich their relationships and work towards common goals together.