― Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels
As parents, the adolescent years are often some of the hardest. Parents are charged with the responsibility of keeping their teen safe, teaching them to make healthy choices that will not impair their future success, and giving them the skills they need to function as an adult. But, to make that task just a little harder, we add the developmental challenges of adolescents. These include changes in hormones, a surge of independence, and an increase in impulsivity. Suddenly, life becomes a rollercoaster with no end in sight. Families are often most tested during this stage of life and generally need some help. At Bridges Family Center, we recognize this fragile time and want to support both parents and teens as they work through the many stressors of change and emotion.
Teens need a space where they can express their thoughts and feelings and learn important tools for communication, healthy relationships, and social skills. Often, teens experience many losses that come in the form of friendship changes, consistent performance reviews by teachers and parents, and anxiety over future plans. Communication about these issues is imperative. Keeping the lines of communication open between teens and parents can greatly increase the chances of success. This is where counseling can make a huge difference for both teens and parents.
Adolescent therapy consists of an intake session in which both teen and parents are asked to participate. This intake addresses areas of concern, symptomology, diagnosis, and family dynamics. At the completion of the intake, an additional session will be scheduled in which your teen will meet individually with the counselor to address any additional information and begin building rapport. Based on the information provided during the intake, your counselor will work with your family to create treatment goals for your teen/family. These goals will be unique to your adolescent’s individual needs and may provide that your child is seen individually, with family, or in group settings. Parents may also receive training, including how to provide positive discipline for teens while managing troublesome behaviors. Wrap around services to coordinate care between schools, doctors, and the therapist are also available.
Reasons a teen may participate in counseling vary greatly but some of the most common reasons are as follows: poor school performance, depression, anxiety, feeling irritable or moody, stress, family issues, low self-esteem, anger management, mood disorders, poor conflict resolution, parents’ divorce, self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, grief and loss, victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse.