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Overcoming Standoffs with Tough Teens

...And the Three Questions You Should Ask Them in the Very First Session

Matthew Selekman

By Matthew Selekman - Trying to get in the door with provocative, therapy-savvy adolescents can be a challenging task for even the most seasoned of therapists. I've developed several engagement strategies that I regularly use, singly or in combination, that have consistently helped me to establish a therapeutic alliance with even the toughest teen client.

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VIDEO: Helping Teen Clients Make Good Decisions

...And What to Do When They Talk About Risky Behavior

Britt Rathbone

Networker’s Lauren Dockett talks with teen therapist Britt Rathbone about navigating the tricky issues of confidentiality, risky behavior, and improving teen judgment and self-control.

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What Works with Teen Clients

Forget Everything You Know About the Therapeutic Alliance

Janet Sasson Edgette

By Janet Edgette - It’s probably fair to say that most teens loathe the very idea of therapy. Yet, with confused and troubled adolescents needing our help more than ever, the gap between our grad school training and what works in real-life practice continues to widen.

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A New Year's Conundrum

A Stumped Therapist's Attempt to Help Two Parents Set Boundaries Has a Surprising Result

Ron Taffel

By Ron Taffel - At 15, Jenny regularly breaks her curfew, flirts with drugs, and is getting close to being suspended from her Manhattan public school. Today, she and her parents are in my office discussing the latest issue: New Year’s Eve is coming up, and Jenny and her posse have plans.

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The Young and the Anxious

When Worried Clients Swing Back, What's Your Role?

Lynn Lyons

By Lynn Lyons - Lately, I’ve become aware of just how much of my practice is made up of young adults who return to therapy after leaving the nest. This pattern is also indicative of a generation of young people stuck in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Here's what I do with "long-term" clients who swing back.

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Meeting Teen Clients Where They Are

Here's What They Respond To

Janet Sasson Edgette

By Janet Sasson Edgette - Most of us were never trained to talk to adolescents, and they often find most standard, shrink-wrapped attempts to "engage" them infuriating. Here's what they respond to best.

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Inhabiting the Moment with Traumatized Teens

Three Strategies to Rewire Young Brains for Safety and Attachment

Martha Straus

By Martha Straus - What we therapists have to offer our young clients, more than anything, is our well-regulated, fully developed adult brain, with its mature capacity for awareness, perspective, appraisal, curiosity, and forgiveness on full display. According to the approach I use, Developmental-Relational Therapy, we’re both the mechanism of change and the intervention. Here are a few strategies that can rewire the teen brain for safety and intimacy.

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When Your Client Won't Commit to Change

How to Accept Opposition and Still Get Results

David Johnson

By David Johnson - In my several decades of practice, one skill that’s served me well in this field is my ability to leave work at the office. But every once in a while, I see clients whose situation intrigues, moves, or confounds me in a way that keeps them in my thoughts in between sessions, even if I’m often not sure what it is about them that continues to haunt me. Such was the case with Matthew.

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Taking Charge with Difficult Teens

...And the Four Most Common Mistakes Therapists Make

Jerome Price and Judith Margerum

By Jerome Price and Judith Margerum - How does a therapist treat a struggle between a teenager and his or her parents? Therapies that advocate support without leadership fail, giving teenagers too much control. There are four common errors that therapists make with teenagers. They are surprisingly simple to grasp, and they always make matters worse.

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Making Space for Race

Creating and Holding Connection with Black Teenagers

Ken Hardy

By Ken Hardy - Therapy with teenagers has to be about creating and holding a connection. As a therapist, I'm like a spider trying to lure my clients into a web that will support them. While I try to use the context of racism to help African American teenagers understand their situations, verbalize, and vent their feelings, I also want them to develop inner resources and tools for handling the adversity they face in more useful and productive ways.

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