Psychotherapy for Adolescents

– Psychotherapy and the Teenager

Similar to any other kind of therapy or treatment, the earlier it starts, the better.DSCF1053

The relationship between a psychotherapist and a adolescent is quite unique. Unlike other adults, the psychotherapist has a privileged position that does not demand much of the teenager (in terms of the daily responsibilities and struggles in his/her life) but offers a different set of eyes, a moment for self-understanding and empathy, where the adolescent has room to let some light and understanding come into impulses, fears, doubts, confused thoughts and unclear or repressed emotions; with that, the risk for substance abuse or self-harm behaviors generally decreases, the teenager’s relationships with peers and adults become less conflictual and more sincere, the ability to focus on school work increases, self-image becomes more positive and self esteem improves.

How do you know if your child could specially benefit from Psychotherapy or Counselling? Well, sometimes school shows the first flag, due to behavior and compliance issues, attention or learning difficulties. Other times, the parents themselves believe that something is not right in terms of development and interpersonal relationships, or they notice too many fears, too mach rage or anger, too much anxiety, too many nightmares, too many rigid behaviors, too many outbursts.

– 3rd Culture Kids

As DSCF1045we expats know, adjusting to a new country, environment, culture (or in many cases a mix of different cultures), establishing and developing new relationships, finding stability and feeling at home is somewhat complex. Some families move every 3 years, other after 15 years, which is likely to bring on different kinds of consequences and reactions, but no matter how frequent, transitions can be smoother with some support and guidance.

The impact transitions have on children and teenagers  is an issue that definitely should be addressed. These transitions may be about the geographical change (different countries), moving from one school to another, academic changes (moving up to a different grade level), getting to know new colleagues and teachers, or other matters such as moving in to new house,  moving away from other family members, establishing new routines, and basically combining the new and old (what they have ahead and what they left behind). With teenagers there may be some concerns with smoothing transitions as to prevent deviant behaviors concerning sex, abuse of drugs or alcohol.

It is possible to work on the sense of unfamiliarity and prevent culture shock and make the best out of living in an international environment.