Given the stigma still attached to psychiatric drugs, it’s no surprise that today’s kids, inundated with peer pressure to be "cool," might have reservations about taking them. But therapist Ron Taffel, author of Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents, knows that for especially burdened young clients, medication is often necessary to get therapy moving. Therapists, he says, can’t always go it alone.
In the following video clip with Networker Editor Rich Simon, Taffel shares the story of how he convinced a young female client to give medication a try, by using a bit of wordsmithing. "You're complicated," he told the girl, "And this is too much for both of us to handle alone. I'd like to get another perspective." Feeling heard and validated, she decided to see a psychiatrist.
Ron Taffel, PhD, chair of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, is the author of eight professional and popular books and over 100 articles on therapy and family life.
Taffel is quick to add that therapy and medication need to go hand in hand—it's not a matter of choosing one over the other. Clients who use both medication and therapy have been shown to have more robust recovery rates. And by collaborating with psychiatrists, Taffel adds, we give our clients the best chance at recovery possible.
“We’re on the front lines," he says, "and we see life going on in real time, so we know the small, subtle indications that tell us if medication is working.” Therapists, he adds, "need to take extra responsibility to make sure that prescribers see what we see and hear what we hear.”
Did you enjoy this video? You might also enjoy Janet Edgette’s article, "Why Teens Hate Therapy," in which she discusses how to balance compassion with accountability. And in "Getting Real," she explains the importance of candor, sharing a personal experience. You might also like our Case Study, "Supporting the Overwhelmed Child," in which social worker Howard Honigsfeld shares best practices for working with struggling, underprivileged youth.