Adolescent & Teen Therapy

Do you wish your son/daughter was more involved and actively engaged in their life? Is their sleep pattern off kilter? Are you concerned about your teen’s overall behavior and social functioning? Is stress or procrastination the culprit of unmanageable anxiety?

The central dilemma in adolescent development is the negotiation with parents between discipline and independence. The threat that adults present to an teen’s sense of a separate self can form itself in immense push-back to many troublesome behaviors. Understanding the big picture and respecting a teen’s developmental needs are absolutely crucial in responding and partnering with them in an effective manner.
Some of the areas that I can be of assistance with the adolescent/teen population include:

  • Bullying
  • Procrastination
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Drug/Alcohol Abuse
  • Peer Relationships
  • School Issues
  • Divorce
  • Transitions
  • Coping Skills
  • Study Habits
  • Family Dynamics
  • ADHD
  • Executive Functioning Skills
  • Little and Big T Traumas
  • Video Game Addiction

I tailor my approach according to the client and use these modalities in the foundation of my work:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Solutions-Focused Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • EMDR
  • DBT

I also tap into elements of the following modalities:

  • Strengths-Based
  • Gestalt
  • Positive Psychology
  • Psychodymanic Theory
  • Attachment-Based

Through individual therapy, various modalties and techniques are customized according to multiple factors. For starters, it’s important that teens have a basic understanding of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques that involve mindfulness, deep-breathing, and emotional regulation. Beyond that, social skills training is often utilized to work on tone, body language, active listening, empathizing, expression, exploring, and validation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is almost always employed as it often resonates with teens once they understand that their thoughts and feelings are closely intertwined. For example, if they can better identify, challenge, and eliminate black-and-white thinking, they will be in better control of their emotions, resulting in a more positive behavior and better consequences. Solutions-Focused Therapy is also effective with teens in trying to figure out what things would look like if the problem wasn’t there or how things looked when the problem wasn’t there in the past.

Or perhaps a teen isn’t ready to change and is resistant to the whole idea of therapy. This is where Motivational Interviewing comes into play where the focus can be put on the pro’s and con’s of changing and whether the individual is confident that they can indeed change. It’s vitally important to meet teens where they are at and nudge them once that rapport is created and they are ready. If they have strong resourcing and proper coping skills, they may get quick relief through EMDR, which is the foundation of my practice. For more information on EMDR, please see the separate title listing on the home page of my website.

Finally, elements of positive psychology and strengths-based therapy are unique elements that are employed in my approach. Positive psychology moves beyond more traditional problem-focused psychological theories and offers strategies for living more fully and more productively in the “here and now.” Strength-building is an effective way of teens taking a closer look at their strengths and how they can better channel them in their lives. This assists in building self-esteem and often times is the place to go if teens aren’t ready to explore and process the actual problem. Regardless, I always end my sessions with some strength-building so the individual is stabilized and feels good about themselves. This is necessary to build self-esteem and encourage adolescents to confront and embrace their problems without feeling like they are defective in some way. Everyone has something to work on.

Ryan Long, MSW, LICSW


verified by Psychology Today

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