Adolescent therapy requires that we always remember this: adolescents constantly struggle with their lack of identity and their changing visions of themselves. One of the ways I use PDT to help them develop identity is to help them identify their feelings. Through the identification of feelings, teenagers begin to discover who they really are.
Adolescent sexuality is an area troubling not only for the teens, but for their parents as well. Questions such as these come up all the time in my practice in Westchester:
One of the functions of PDT is to allow adolescents a safe, non-judgmental environments where they can finally get in touch with what their ideas and feelings are about sex. I provide a place where they feel free to talk about peer pressure openly.
- Should they have sex?
- What is their sexuality?
- What effect is peer pressure having the their formulations of their ideas and values?
Adolescent communication is as puzzling for parents as it is for teens. In Westchester and on the West Coast, my experience has proven that we must speak to the adolescents in language they can really hear. My practice involves modeling communication techniques for the parents, so their adolescent can communicate with them more clearly and more effectively. We also model effective communication on the adolescent side - the adolescent needs to learn how to clearly and effectively describe his/her feelings, ideas, values, and experiences.
Unlike the adults in my practice, the goals with adolescent therapy usually are shorter-term. With adolescents, the traumas we explore usually are "fresher" than those which corrode adults' visions of themselves. The goal here is not necessarily to re-formulate a life vision and dream, but instead to come up with one as a starting place.
As with all groups, I tend to work co-operatively with psychiatrists to effective manage medication issues, should those be necessary. Also, in some cases, specialized adolescent substance abuse treatment is required.
Simply being an adolescent is a complicated task. Ad lack of identity, and you cannot help an adolescent without also working the their family.
Being the parents of an adolescent, especially with the kinds of trouble kids can get into in Westchester and the surrounding areas, can be a puzzle you cannot put together without help. Therefore, a big part of what I do is teach new parenting methods. Please take a look at the Parenting page for more information on that subject.