Outpatient Therapy Services

Individual Therapy for Teens

Teens are in a tremendous stage of life. They are rapidly developing into young adults, they are discovering many primary areas of their identities, and they are determining their values and what is important to them. Between school, activities, family life, social life, and many other demands, the transitions that teens traverse are rigorous and can be overwhelming. Having a safe space for self-expression and reflection with a non-judgmental therapist can be a great resource.

Our clinicians are happy to be able to offer a wide range of modalities to support adolescent development and provide treatment for mental health struggles. Here are some of the ways that therapy can be a good fit for teens:

  • They would benefit from time and space to explore any mental health challenges and to develop skills to support their mental health as they become more and more independent
  • There has been a recent life transition and they need help processing it effectively
  • They want to dedicate time to exploring themselves, their identity and their goals, or a specific problem
  • They have a specific mental health concern and need a treatment plan in order to move forward with addressing it

What can teens expect at their first appointment

Your initial session will take about an hour. It will include an introduction to your clinician. They will tell you all about their practice and answer any questions that you have coming in. They will complete an assessment which can involve your therapist asking personal questions about you, your life, your history, and your family. Your therapist will want to get a good idea of how you would like to benefit from therapy. Once the initial session and assessment are complete, your therapist will summarize their clinical impressions and will make a recommendation for treatment based on their assessment and your goals. Your parents may need to be involved in a portion of this discussion, but your therapist will discuss this with you first.

A note on confidentiality

At the beginning of therapy, one of the first questions many teens ask is, “Are you going to talk to my parents?” One of the first questions many parents ask is, “are you going to tell me what’s going on with my child?”

To parents

Of course you want to know what’s going on with your child. It is normal to want to know AND it is also normal for teens to begin keeping some personal information from their parents as they develop independence and differentiate from their families.

Every teen and family is different and will be approached a little differently based on their needs and therapy goals. In the interest of developing trust and rapport, we recommend settling into the idea that your teen’s individual therapy sessions will largely be individual. Your teen’s therapist may occasionally recommend that your teen share things with you and/ or that parents are invited in for a session. Family therapy may be recommended if it seems that this could be helpful as well. Occasionally, a therapist may ask the teen if it is okay for the therapist to share information with their parents. It is important to trust your teen to tell you when they need to tell you something and to respect their right to confidentiality in their therapy sessions.

Studies have repeatedly shown that, regardless of treatment modality, the number one determining factor impacting whether therapy will be successful is the quality of the therapeutic alliance. To develop a strong therapeutic alliance, your teen should feel respected and safe in their sessions with their therapist. This does not mean that the therapist will agree with everything your teen says or that your teen will never be challenged or expected to work in their sessions – they absolutely will! This work, however, must sit upon an appropriate foundation of a strong therapeutic alliance.

There are some exceptions to general confidentiality practices:

  • Your teen’s therapist and/or the practice owner will speak with you regarding insurance and payment information.
  • If your teen expresses intent to harm themselves or others, we will speak with you immediately about next steps to take to keep everyone safe.
  • If your teen has an Eating Disorder or mental health symptoms that are putting their lives at risk, we will speak to you about this and may recommend a higher level of care.
  • If your teen reports abuse of themselves, another child, or an elder or disabled person, we are mandated to report it.

To teens

The content of your therapy sessions is between you and your therapist. We understand that to explore the things you might want to explore in your sessions, you need to be able to trust your therapist and feel understood.

Your relationship with your therapist will be different from your other relationships. They are not your friend, but they will be friendly and supportive. They are not a teacher, though part of your sessions may sometimes include your therapist teaching you really great skills to use. Your therapist is not your parent, though they will have boundaries and may, with your consent, suggest changes you could make based on things you’ve expressed that you want but have obstacles in the way of achieving.

Your therapist will keep the information you choose to share confidential. They may, if they think it is appropriate, speak with you about the possibility of sharing some information with your parents, or they may suggest inviting your parents to a therapy session sometimes. Your therapist will not speak to your parents without your permission except in the following circumstances:

  • Your therapist or parent has a question about payment or insurance. Most of the time this information does not include any specific details about you ,though it may include your diagnosis.
  • If you express intent to harm yourself or others, we will speak with your parents about next steps and a safety plan.
  • If you have an Eating Disorder or mental health symptoms that are putting your life at risk, we will speak to your parents about this and may recommend a higher level of care.
  • If you report that you have been abused, or that another child, elder, or disabled person has been abused, we are mandated to report it to a protective services agency.

In most instances, unless it puts you at risk in some way, your therapist will tell you before they speak with your parents.

Meet our therapists who specialize in Individual Therapy for Teens

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