Adolescent & Family Therapy

I work with adolescents (age 12+) and families dealing with a range of difficulties. I use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as well as Emotionally Focused Family Therapy to help adolescents understand their own struggles and make meaningful changes while also empowering parents to provide the support their children need. Nobody has the power to help children heal like their parents, but it can be incredibly difficult to know how to help when children are struggling. Families often develop patterns that can disrupt connection and make it difficult for parents to provide support even when they desperately want to help. Using Emotionally Focused Family Therapy, I help parents and adolescents understand each other better and express their feelings in ways that promote connection rather than emotional distance.

In addition to working on family dynamics, I often draw on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is an evidence-based treatment proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents. ACT has two primary goals: 1. To teach the psychological skill of mindfulness in order to deal with painful thoughts and feelings in a way that gives them much less power over you, and 2. To identify what truly matters to you and use that knowledge to guide and motivate you towards behaviors that contribute to a more fulfilling life.

I am often asked to help families with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression and sadness
  • Issues with confidence and self-esteem
  • Frequent parent-child conflict
  • Separation and divorce
  • Incorporating a new step-parent
  • Parental illness or absence
  • Questioning sexual or gender identity

What to Expect

Assessment and Treatment Planning:

Depending on the age(s) of your child(ren) and the issues you’re facing, I may ask to meet with the parents and child together or just the parents for our first session. Either way the intake and assessment process will involve a combination of meetings with your child alone and you in the room.

Treatment:

The treatment phase of adolescent and family therapy can vary dramatically depending on a family’s needs. I may break the session up into child-only and child-parent portions, or I may involve everyone for the whole session. For older adolescents, I will likely spend more time one-on-one without parents in the room given increased needs for independence. I will, however, request that parents join periodically to address issues within the family. For some presenting issues, I may recommend that I work just with parents. Once I have a good understanding of the issues facing your family, we will discuss the treatment plan and session structure I think will be most helpful.