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April Quandary: My Teenage Client’s Parents Say He’s Depressed, But He Disagrees!

Five Clinicians Give Their Take

Chris Lyford • No Comments

By Chris Lyford - Fourteen-year-old client Tyler’s parents brought him to therapy because they say he rarely engages with classmates or teachers, isn’t interested in extracurriculars, and heads straight to his room after school to play video games. They worry he’s depressed, but he’s mostly responsive in therapy and insists he’s happy. Here's how five therapists say they'd proceed.

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Meeting Teen Clients Where They Are

Here's What They Respond To

Janet Sasson Edgette • No Comments

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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Taking Charge with Difficult Teens

...And the Four Most Common Mistakes Therapists Make

Jerome Price and Judith Margerum • No Comments

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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VIDEO: Martha Straus on the Power of Predictability with Kids

The Cornerstone of a Strong Therapeutic Alliance

Martha Straus • No Comments

Familiarity and predictability aren't always the best course of action when we're trying to encourage our clients to change, but there are times when they can provide much-needed comfort. According to Martha Straus, an expert in working with kids and teens, young people are among those who need this familiarity the most, especially when they've experienced attachment trauma. In the following clip, she explains how regular appointments and check-in phone calls serve a healing purpose.

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Discovering the Real Life of Teens

The Key to Translating Youth Culture to Mystified Parents

Ron Taffel • No Comments

By Ron Taffel - What I've discovered, after talking with hundreds of teens, is that with their friends, they're almost a different species than when they're in the alien company of adults. If parents want to reclaim a connection with their children, they'll have to pay deep and respectful attention to a culture many of them abhor.

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The Challenges of Working with Suicidal Teens

Best Practices for When Work Becomes Dramatic and Unpredictable

Matthew Selekman • No Comments

By Matthew Selekman - Working with self-harming teens often seems like riding a runaway roller coaster, which keeps threatening to go off the rails altogether. To succeed, you have to be highly flexible and able to turn on a dime, as the circumstances demand.

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Is Teen Suicide Contagious?

Clinicians Weigh in on the Controversy around 13 Reasons Why

Chris Lyford • No Comments

By Chris Lyford - 13 Reasons Why has become one of Netflix’s most watched features, in part for how it confronts the subject of young adult suicide. But the notion that it glorifies self-harm has led suicide-prevention agencies, school boards, and therapists to speak out.

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A Novel Approach to Treating Troubled Kids

Multi-Systemic Therapy Treats the Overlapping Worlds of Childhood

Wray Herbert • No Comments

By Wray Herbert - As its name suggests, Multi-Systemic Therapy is focused on the many overlapping worlds of childhood and adolescence. It emphasizes treating problem kids in their own natural environment, and practitioners routinely use genograms to visually depict the stresses and sources of support in a teenager's life.

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How to Engage an Angry Teen

A Paradoxical Approach to Creating a Therapeutic Alliance

Victor Shklyarevsky • No Comments

By Victor Shklyarevsky - "Making nice" is doomed to failure when working with too many troubled teens who might otherwise be helped. From the very first moments of the initial session, our goal is to match the teens' negative intensity: to take what such rude and dismissive clients so readily dish out and give back the same. This kind of mirroring allows them to experience the therapist as someone who can meet them where they are emotionally.

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Lighting the Spark in Teen Clients

How to Connect with Resistant Teens

Ron Taffel • No Comments

When you sit down with a young client, should you set your own immediate reactions and personal opinions aside? Not if you hope to make real progress, says Ron Taffel.

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