- Are you worried about your teenager’s bad and risky behavior?
- Is your teenage daughter or son having problems at school with friends or with others?
- Are you scared your child is going through and emotionally unstable phase in their life, and that’s negatively affecting their relationship or their academic performance?
Know that you’re not alone. In this section, we’re going to cover a little bit about teen counseling.Now, knowing my background, I’ve been a drug and alcohol counselor for the majority of my career, but most of my career has actually been spent with youth. Now, in the different agencies for me, youth has been defined as a population between the ages of 0 and 24. I often get asked, “What was the youngest client you’ve ever worked with.” Actually, she was 6. She was a family member of a mom that had a substance abuse problem.
Now, the majority of my career has been spent with youth. Now, as parents, sometimes the thought is, “Well, is this just teenage angst or is this something a little bit more serious?” Well, I feel that counseling sometimes can shed the light on whether or not that this is just normal teenage behavior or that there may be something a little bit greater. I know in working with teens, they felt comfortable in talking to somebody neutral, meaning when talking to a parent there could be great risk in terms of talking of whether it’s sexual activity, or substance use, or anything else. They’re fearful that their response or their problems that they would have when discussed with the parent might lead to more problems within the family relationship or the parental-child relationship.
A lot of times parents have brought their children to me initially with the child being voluntold to come because now in my background most of the time my referral sources have been from the Ps, which are principals, parents, and probation. It’s usually not kids that come wanting to come to counseling, but what I found in working with kids over the years is that I’ve been very good at building rapport with them and making them feel comfortable.
Now, for the parent I often just after discussing what the issue may be will talk about their plan of care. Now, the plan of care really involves what are the action steps or what are the work that we’re going to do together, how many sessions it’s going to involved, and of course, they have to have the child on board in order to move forward.
Usually, what I say to the kids is the first two belong to you, and after that, if you want to continue it will really be based on your choice. It comes from a very empowering position for the child. A lot of times what kids will see me about will be issues like depression, suicide thoughts, anxiety, substance abuse, bullying, and other issues with their peers.
Now, on my website what you’ll see is videos that contain things on depression which are similar to the adult categories, because sometimes the symptomatology as they present will be the same, but how I do the treatment with children will be different. A lot of times what will work with an adult will not necessarily work with the child and vice versa. I really take a client-centered approach in dealing with children so that they could get the best possible care. I often use strategies like hypnosis that often fascinates children as they usually make the best subjects because of their great imaginations.
What you’ll see in this category or in this section is videos on depression, questions like what is CDT, what are signs and symptoms of depression, and those kinds of topics. Then we’ll cover a little bit on anxiety, including how do I get prepared for the first day of school, which was a video I created around the beginning of September.
Also, there’ll be some tips and techniques on how some simple strategies on how to overcome anxiety and panic attacks. In the next category, we’re going to look at substance abuse, things like shame, stigma, and also a brief presentation on the cycle of addiction and how it continues to perpetuate itself, and how it could easily move from one addiction to the next. Usually, with kids, they may start with substances, whether that’s tobacco, or alcohol, or drugs, and then could easily move to video gaming, or relationships, or that kind of thing.
In my work in dealing with children, there’s not too many things that I’ve been surprised by having done this for 23 years. One of my best skills is making children and parents feel comfortable in moving forward. Understand that’s really the crux. If the child feels comfortable, they’re much more likely to be in a position to move forward in their therapy or in their sessions.
Now, within this category as well you will see that we will look at some strategies for kids and adults to get to a better place. I hope that this information today has been useful and helpful, and I encourage you to peruse through my website at your discretion, and hopefully you’ll find something that’s useful to you and to your child as you move forward in health and harmony. Thanks so much for joining me today.