David B. Wohlsifer, Ph.D., LCSW

Individual, Couples, and Family Therapy

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Therapy for Teenagers

Adolescent Challenges

The teenage years are often a challenging time for both adolescents and their families. Even the most patient parent(s) might feel at their wits end at times when talking with their teenage children. Someone once told me “if you want to find out what is going on with your teenage children have someone else ask them”. I found this to be excellent advice both personally and professionally as have many of the parents of teens that I have worked with over the years.

We call teenagers “adolescents” because they are between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers typically wrestle with adult desires, crave independence, and believe they are entitled to it, while forgetting that they are not yet adults and simply put are “still under their parents’ roof”. I treat teens using a family approach involving parents and even at times siblings in the teen’s therapy. When seeing a teenager I try to have family sessions with the parent(s) on a regular basis as an adjunct to the individual treatment of the teen.

Therapy with teenagers requires a special sensitivity to teenage development. On an individual level teens face tremendous pressures today. Worries about the future, friends, relationships, academic performance, and other stressors all have an impact on teen wellness.

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Some examples of reasons teens and their parents seek therapy are:

  • Mood Issues (Depression and Anxiety)
  • Academic Performance
  • Concentration and Attention
  • Sleep problems
  • Family conflicts
  • Divorce
  • Blending families: step parent / step sibling concerns
  • Substance Abuse (Alcohol or Drug use)
  • Body Image Issues
  • Self Esteem
  • Stress about the future (College Planning, Decision making)
  • Peer pressure, friends, and relationships
  • Sexual Orientation Issues
  • Gender Identity Issues