I see teens in both my DC and Virginia offices. The initial goal of treatment is to establish trust and a comfortable relationship between the adolescent and me. Therapy for teens then focuses on helping them explore their feelings and the source of their difficulties. Together, my client and I, look for ways to resolve their problems or alleviate their distress while growing more confident, more mature, and more thoughtful about themselves and their own behavior.
When working with adolescents, issues around their privacy in the therapy and confidentiality boundaries are often important and sometimes difficult. These clients are sometimes experimenting with drugs, or alcohol, or sexual activity, and those topics need to be addressed in the treatment. The boundaries of confidentiality are thoroughly addressed with both the client and his or her parents as your work begins with me. My aim is to balance the privacy of the sessions, with protecting the safety of the teenager. I also work to help my teenage clients talk more openly with their parents, and work to help the parents listen in ways that encourage increased openness.