... There are certain qualities that a therapist must possess to be effective: passion, motivation, energy, strong work ethic, enthusiasm, and a willingness to learn and grow with each new experience...
While this is important for therapists when working with all individuals, we believe that it is especially important when working with adolescents.
Adolescence is a developmental period between childhood and adulthood, spanning the ages of approximately 10 through 19. During this evolution, changes in hormones and cognitions occur. Added pressures from peers, parents and school can contribute to conflicts pertaining to identity, sexuality, peer relationships and many more. These changes can create challenges for teens struggling to let go and parents campaigning to hold on. If left untreated, these issues can lead to depression, anxiety, substance use, risk-taking behaviors and thoughts of death, self-harm or suicide.
We who work with adolescents are flexible, caring, compassionate, strong, funny, accepting, non-judgmental, & experienced. We are not afraid to express to our clients that we can change an intervention until a method that works is found. This style communicates two things to our kids that are essential to building a strong therapeutic alliance.
One is that it is okay to step outside the parameters of the treatment manual... it's OK to be flexible and to try different things when we need to.
Second, it helps reinforce that changes are not immediate and that therapy is an ongoing collaborative process.
This is what makes us appear more human and relatable. It also de-mystifies the therapeutic process. Especially when working with adolescents and families, it's important to take an integrative approach to conceptualization and therapy while using empirically supported treatments.
Our aim is to:
assist in identity development,
encourage the development of self-esteem,
develop productive communication strategies,
teach teens to manage emotions and thoughts,
build upon strengths, &
- encourage making healthier choices.
We utilize our information and training in CBT, DBT, psychodynamic approaches, solution-focused therapy, and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, to name a few...
When indicated and with parental consent, we will work collaboratively with schools, teachers, and allied professionals. Our role is also to assist parents in advocating for necessary services, and to promote coordination and consistency between providers. Coordination and communication so often strengthens our kids and promotes health, growth and achievement across as many settings as possible. Parents may also be encouraged to participate in conjoint sessions to facilitate healthier communication and improve relationships.
Our adolescent team:
Suzannah Espinosa, PhD
Robert Wilson, LCSW
Michelle Vallario, LCSW
Pamela Babik, LCSW
Gina Galiano, PsyD, LPC