Individual therapy is the primary treatment used to helping teenagers cope and heal through the issue that brings them into therapy. The hope is that they will get a sense of safety through a non-judgment approach from the therapy. The primary means of individual therapy is to help process through the emotions and needs of the individual. For an adolescent, the prefrontal cortex (judgment part of the brain) is not yet fully developed so much of therapy is helping one register, organize, slow down the emotions so that one is becoming less impulsive and more responsive. We do this by naming, reconnecting, and reordering deeper desires (emotions / needs) that the emotional turmoil is really pointing to such as connection, belonging, and significance.
Another treatment option, is participating in adolescent group therapy. Peer pressure is one of the strongest influencing agents in negatively acting out. Group therapy helps counter that by providing a positive group experience. The group’s goal is to not pressure. In fact, the hope is that group validates and accepts each person exactly where they are so that there is no need to perform. These groups are offered at different times throughout the year and offer a place of community. Group therapy for teenagers help process relational skills, along with learning coping tools from other teens in the group. There is so much more power in learning from a peer group member rather than from the co-facilitator. Bottom line, we are healing by and through relationships and the more one can be in relationship with others, talking authentically about one's struggles helps.
There will be some involvement as a family or with the parents. Family therapy offers an opportunity to connect in new ways with each family member. The hope is that each family member experiences connection over correction and that each family member feels that they get to be heard and understood.