Therapy with teens begins with building rapport and communicating understanding. Once a teen feels truly understood, he or she will begin to open up, develop a strong identity and consider areas for change. Teens often desire autonomy from parents and desire to have their own ideas, goals, and time in therapy. At the same time, parents and caregivers care about their teens, are vital to the relationship, and desire involvement in therapy, especially where safety concerns are evident. Due to these two contrasting needs, therapy needs to vaciliate or take turns. Until a teen is considered legal age (18 years in AB), he or she is considered a minor, and under the custody of the legal guardian. Parents are often initiating and paying for sessions. Therefore, the therapist meets first with parent or care-giver to receive consent for the teen, set up goals for sessions, and communicate the confidentiality limitations and make decisions on information transfer. Further sessions are completed with teens, to explore their goals, opinions, and desires for treatment.
For decisions on number of session and therapy type, both teens and caregivers/parents are consulted. Options are play therapy, talk therapy, Cognitive-behavioral therapy, and Eye movement Decensitization Preprocessing (EMDR). Sessions may vary between individual (teenager only or care-giver only) or family sessions (teenager and parents).
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is focused on the present, limited in duration, and a problem-solving oriented. You will learn specific skills that you can use in your every day life. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviours.