I specialize in working with adolescents who are struggling with anxiety and perfectionism, are experiencing low self-esteem, are working their way through a major life transition, or are wanting to stop hating their bodies.
does your teenager seem anxious, nervous, worried, or plagued by perfectionism?
Anxiety is abundant during adolescence. Bodies are changing, hormones are flying, peers are trying new things, and academic demands are intense. Some anxiety can be healthy and even motivating... but frequent or intense worry, fear, nervousness, or perfectionism can prevent your teenager from having fun, developing healthy social skills, and reaching their goals. I often hear clients say:
I'm pretty good at school, but I should be the best in my class... If I don't ace this test, everything will fall apart... I want to get into my top choice college so badly—nothing else matters... I don't have time to make friends... I have to get into a leadership position at my school or else...
Anxiety might be consuming all of your teen's thoughts, keeping them up at night, and preventing them from really being themselves. I will create a confidential, nonjudgmental, warm, and supportive environment, so that your teen feels safe and comfortable sharing about their vulnerabilities. I will help your teenager explore where their anxiety is coming from and learn about what it's trying to express to them. I will also help your teen notice and acknowledge their strengths and skills, gently work towards releasing any unrealistic expectations, find healthy ways to soothe, and tune in to what they really want from life in the present and the future. You might remember that high school can feel never-ending... but it doesn't have to! Let's help your teen thrive, and not just survive.
IS YOUR TEENAGER STRUGGLING WITH LOW SELF-ESTEEM, LOW SELF-CONFIDENCE, or self-doubt?
Adolescents care more about what their peers think than any other age group. High school is an intensely competitive time when kids are jockeying to be known for something cool or smart or dangerous or... whatever! Teenagers aren't yet sure who they are and their validation needs can be pretty high. Maybe your teenager is managing a learning difference on top of everything else, maybe they're being bullied at school, maybe they want more attention and will do anything to get it, or maybe they're feeling left out. I often hear clients say:
No matter how hard I study, I am going to bomb that test... No one finds me attractive... literally no one... I'm never going to get into college, at least not anywhere good... I'm not one of the smart kids... Most kids at school hate me... I'm such a loser... What if I do that and then they don't like me?
Self-esteem plays a major role in whether your teen is experiencing joy in their life, what kind of goals they are creating for themselves, and whether they have the strength to pursue what they really want in their lives. I will provide a nurturing, supportive environment where your teen feels safe to discuss their self-judgment, self-criticism, and challenging life experiences. I will also help your teen identify their strengths and talents, normalize their struggles, find healthy ways to soothe, and develop belief in themselves and their abilities.
is your family going through a major transition?
Whether you are going through a contentious divorce, have lost a loved one, or are celebrating a new marriage and blending of families, your teenager is reeling from all the change. Maybe they're not sure who they need to listen to, maybe they don't know how they feel about the whole thing, maybe they're afraid that your relationship with them is going to change, maybe they can't talk about how much they miss their loved one, maybe they feel pressure to take care of their family members, and maybe they seem to not spend any time at home anymore. I often hear clients say:
I'm stuck in the middle... I hate my step-mom... I'm out of here... You're not my dad... No one understands what it's like...
Transitions are challenging and confusing for adolescents and adults alike. They are particularly tough for adolescents who are already coping with a lot of physical and emotional changes. Divorce often brings up fear, grief, and anger. The blending of families often brings up mixed feelings too. The loss of a loved one can create a deafening silence between caregivers and their children. I will provide your teenager with a confidential, warm, nonjudgmental, and supportive environment where they can talk about their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—without having to worry about hurting anyone's feelings or stepping on anyone's toes. This opportunity for openness and candor will help your teen learn to be more compassionate with themselves and with others as they find their footing.
does your teen hate their body?
Teens often dislike their looks as their bodies are changing, especially when the changes happen "too fast" or "too slow." That said, self-criticism and feelings of shame can prevent adolescents from developing healthy body images if these thoughts and feelings are left unaddressed. If your teen is engaging in food restriction, over-exercising, or hiding their bodies under masses of clothes, you are wise to be seeking help for them. I often hear clients say:
People say that I'm pretty, but I don't believe them... I like it when guys look at me... because it makes me feel better about myself... I know I'm not fat, but I just forget to eat sometimes, especially in public... I feel like people are staring at me and not in a good way...
I will help your teen identify what they like about their body and learn to see themselves as a whole person. We will also work on ways to manage relationships with people who put them down and on understanding how social and media messages affect us. I will help your teenager develop healthy soothing methods and learn to re-channel their energy towards what they really want in life.
in conjunction with individual adolescent psychotherapy, I provide parent consultations and family therapy sessions. I will support your teenager in expressing themselves to you openly and honestly, and also help them understand your perspective.
I ALSO HAVE EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE WITH:
- Peer relationships
- Peer pressure & boundary pushing
- People pleasing
- High school stressors—academic & social
- Academic underachievement
- Executive functioning issues
- Learning differences
- Parent-adolescent relationships
- Teen dating
- Gender stereotyping
- Loss & grief