Adolescents

Adolescents Mental Health Counseling

Growing up is harder for adolescent boys than it has ever been. Boys are being bombarded with images, messages, and lessons from every angle (school, parents, sports, social media, television, movies, video games, church, coaches, teachers, etc, etc). Young men who come into my office are dealing with inner struggles with limited resources or coping strategies. The main goal for every adolescent boy I work with is to help him increase his natural healthy coping strategies: the ability to talk about internal intensity vs behave on it, the ability to talk/ask about needs vs act out to get needs met in unhealthy/harmful ways, the ability to calm down when angry vs scream/blow-up, etc, etc.

Each boy is unique and therapy looks different in each session. However, from the beginning of our first meeting, I try to have fun with these boys. I strive to understand what my young clients are passionate about or enjoy doing so we can connect from day one. Whether we are tossing a ball around, drawing pictures, talking about video games, or just hanging out, I look to connect and be excited about these young men. Some boys are mature enough to talk candidly about their struggles and we go to those places. Other boys need more time to open up require more sensitivity in therapy.

Intentional Therapy for Adolescent Boys

I believe in and am passionate about therapy that requires 2 commitments from parents…

Time Commitment

Therapy is more effective when it is consistent over a period of time. Major change does NOT happen in three sessions. Adolescent boys who come to therapy consistently on a weekly basis over a period of time will develop better-coping strategies than clients who show up once a month. Each boy is different, but a commitment to weekly therapy for 8 to 10 weeks is going to be more effective than monthly sporadic therapy. I usually ask parents to be open to committing to two months of weekly therapy sessions for their son. Building connections takes time. Trust is built with my clients slowly in each session. Therapy is more effective when kids are able to talk about the painful aspects of their lives, and it usually takes time for kids to be able to open up.

Willingness to Try Different Things

Each boy I work with lives in a unique family system. I work with boys and their parents to try different strategies. Because I am often getting information from boys and their parents I see a different perspective on family dynamics. If you are interested in me working with your child, it will be helpful to be open about trying different strategies at home. As a father who is also a therapist, some of the best moves I have made for my sons have come from getting trusted outside perspectives and trying different strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Therapy is confidential up to a certain extent. Adolescents in therapy who are 16 and older in the state of Tennessee have the same rights to confidentiality as adults. If a client has a definitive plan to end their lives or someone else's, knows of ongoing abuse of a child 18 years or younger, knows of a disabled person or elderly person who is being abused, I may have to break confidentiality and share this knowledge with others. Working with adolescents, I tell both parents and kids upfront that IF there is something intense going on it would be healthy to talk about it as a family if the family structure is safe enough. I work with many adolescents on communication skills with parents about challenging issues so they feel more able to express inner intensities with those who care for them.

Therapy duration is different for every client. So much of a person's ability to heal inside depends on their internal challenges coupled with how much connection their internal and external world has to offer. Some people need a lot more support and this could equate to a longer duration in therapy. Therapy is not a quick fix but is a dedication to change, where people can invest in themselves and their inner challenges on a weekly basis. Therapy is also not a permanent thing that lasts years, but a seasonal commitment.

Standard counseling sessions last 50 minutes. Sometimes people will want more time and 90 minute sessions are available.

If your child has been going through challenges and it seems as if nothing is helping, then it may be time to seek outside help. This is a challenging question for parents because kids go through so many changes. Sometimes I see kids who have acted out and their parents were caught off guard, other times there have been persistent issues faced for longer periods of time with no change. If you do have a question of whether or not your son needs therapy, the first step would be talking honestly to him about your concerns. I am happy to answer questions for parents and am available via email for these types of questions.

I believe that weekly therapy will get those in need help much faster than sporadic, biweekly, or monthly therapy. The weekly routine of therapy in the first few months creates a structure that is optimal for those dealing with internal hardships.

No. After we connect via email then we set up a 20-minute call. This call is important for me to hear about what is going on with you, and also for you to find out about me and how I work as a therapist. There is no charge for the call and no problem at all if you do not decide to move forward in therapy.

I do not take insurance. For clients who inquire, I will provide a "superbill". A superbill is an itemized receipt of services provided, costs incurred, diagnosis, and procedure codes from a mental health service provider to a client. Some insurance companies will partially reimburse clients for "out of network" costs for mental health services. Clients who are interested should call their insurance companies and ask if their plan will reimburse for out of network mental health providers and what is required for submission.

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