Ages 13 – 21
Many adolescents hit a stormy time. When they do, defiance, school problems, irresponsible behavior, and drug or alcohol use pop up like great bandits stealing away children who once were wonderful. While most adolescents work through their storms with only minor crises, some adolescents’ behavior can saddle them with burdens for years to come. No one wants that! They either lack the coping skills to navigate transitions and deal with peers in their lives. Or their parents are struggling to provide appropriate parenting techniques and setting boundaries with them. We work with adolescents to help them discover their existing strengths, find their power and voice, develop appropriate skills and modify inappropriate behaviors. We guide parents of adolescents in positive interaction, age appropriate boundary setting and to increase positive appropriate behavior from their teen.
Work with adolescents at Family First Counseling around work with the adolescent. Family, school, and community are brought in as needed. Most sessions are weekly and individual, though we seek to work to connect adolescent and family as much as possible. The plan for work is developed by both adolescents and their families. Adolescents at Family First Counseling do have confidentiality for what they say in sessions–unless what they say includes abuse or threats to self or others. Then the law requires that information be shared with authorities to insure child safety.
In working with teenagers, it’s important to recognize the unique set of experiences occurring in this challenging stage of life. In navigating through adolescence, children may experience difficulties related to identity, school, relationships, and authority as they begin to define themselves as adults. Adolescence marks the beginning of significant emotional, social, biological, and intellectual changes. With all these changes taking place, it is normal for teenagers to try on different roles or masks to see what fits them. These different roles can include experimentation with morals and values, clothing styles, social groups, music preferences, religion, substances, and sexuality. For parents, this can be an exhausting time as your child’s mood is constantly changing and the arguments, silences, and boundary testing sets in leaving you feeling frustrated and stuck. Although adolescence can be a trying time, it can also be a time filled with newness and excitement as you see your child journey from childhood to adulthood.
Sometimes adolescents deal with emotional struggles that need to be resolved through counseling. Some of these issues include low self- esteem, family issues, depression, perfectionism, weight issues, AD/HD, social issues, self-injury, sexual abuse, substance abuse, and grief and loss. These are just a few of the issues that young people receive counseling for at Family First Counseling. When not attended to, these issues can have a negative effect on the adolescents’ sense of purpose and identity. Because adolescent counseling is a specific field it is important to seek out a professional counselor that specializes with adolescence. In creating a therapeutic environment for teens to work through their issues, talk therapy is combined with more experiential methods including: journaling, creative writing, art, and music. We know that often times adolescents are required to come to therapy by a parent or another authority figure. With this in mind, there naturally can be a resistance to therapy. We fully understand this resistance and are skilled at making the adolescent feel comfortable and at ease right from the start.
The goal in adolescent counseling is to assist teenagers in developing a strong sense of identity rooted in honesty, compassion, self-responsibility, and respect. We accomplish this by working together with the adolescent teaching them how to express emotions, communicate needs, increase self-confidence, define values, establish personal boundaries, and gain other life skills to set the adolescent up for success academically, emotionally, and socially. Parents play a vital role in counseling services at Family First Counseling. Why, because we believe strongly in a team approach and you as the parent know your child best! We encourage you to be an active participant in your adolescent’s therapy experience. We will check in with you regularly and will want your feedback on how your son or daughter is doing.