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932 Santa Cruz Ave • Suite C
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Is your child so overwhelmed by the task of getting good grades and applying to the right college that they are sacrificing important aspects of their childhood?
Are you worried your teen is struggling with anxiety due to COVID-19 and the impact on their school performance? Perhaps you’re concerned that your teen suffers from depression because they no longer have an interest in school and seem to be withdrawing or shutting down emotionally. Or they may be having trouble sleeping, focusing, or believing in their own ability to succeed, but you don’t know how to help them without being misunderstood.
Young people have more challenges to overcome than ever before. And while parents usually just want the best for them, it can be difficult to bridge that emotional gap and understand what they are going through. They may be feeling inadequate or are overly obsessed with making mistakes because they don’t feel like they have a handle on everything. They might complain about having headaches or knots in their stomachs that inevitably keep them from going to school. Or maybe they question what they truly want for themselves because they are overwhelmed by the pressure to live up to the expectations or achievements of their parents.
Being a parent is never easy, and raising a teenager can be particularly difficult. Working with a teen therapist can help you unravel the mystery and ensure your child’s healthy development. And for your teen, they’ll find counseling is a place where they can be heard, respected, and supported without judgment.
I have seen firsthand just how prevalent and painful mental health issues are in troubled teens. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, over 31 percent of all teenagers aged 13 to 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. Additionally, 13 percent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced at least one significant depressive episode. And when you factor in learning difficulties, attention deficit disorder, and self-esteem issues, the high school years can be extremely challenging.
Kids these days are put under more and more pressure to be high-achievers. They have to contend with powerful social forces, both virtual and real. Young adults are constantly being ranked against their peers, and if they don’t perform as well as others or achieve “perfection,” they may take that as a sign of a personal weakness or flaw. Even teens who are ambitious, hard-working, and supported by friends and family can still struggle with academic and mental health issues.
With the help of a teen therapist, parents can increase their skills to help their child heal and thrive. When your teenager is committed to giving therapy a chance, they can overcome anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns while learning valuable strategies for tackling future obstacles on their own.
Therapy gives your child a place where they can be 100 percent honest about their feelings regarding school, expectations, and personal performance without judgment. Because I am an impartial third party, they can open up and be their authentic self rather than the person they think they’re expected to be. As parents, you will find that therapy helps relieve the pain of seeing your child suffer, knowing they are getting the help they deserve. Therapy also provides you with a neutral mediator who can help bridge the communication gap while giving you the tools to help your teen on your own.
Initially, I’ll meet with you separately as a parent to get an idea of what you see your child going through. We’ll explore their developmental history, family dynamics, and when issues started to become apparent. Then I’ll meet independently with your teen to give them a voice, understand their perspective, and ultimately see if we mesh well. Many teens are a little resistant to talking about their problems at first, so the most important thing is to make sure they feel safe and secure expressing their emotions.
Once that relationship is in place, we can begin developing a tailored treatment strategy that speaks to them as an individual. My goal is to help your teenager cultivate a stronger awareness of what their authentic self truly looks like. Therapy provides both an introspective journey to the self as well as a means of developing concrete skills that they can use to self-regulate anytime they feel anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed.
One of the tools I use for helping teens is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This research-driven approach empowers teens to change the way they think and feel by challenging preconceived notions about themselves that may be negative or harmful. Teens are often troubled by an all-or-nothing, polarized way of looking at themselves. CBT helps create more psychological flexibility so that they can see themselves for who they are and not what they fear themselves to be.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) helps people balance the desire for change with the need for self-acceptance. DBT can teach your child how to regulate difficult emotions, cope with stress in healthy ways, and be present in the moment instead of lamenting the past or worrying about the future. Depending on the person and what they are going through, medication may be a useful supplement to therapy. And although I am unable to personally prescribe medications, I have colleagues and resources that I can point you to if needed as a way to accelerate the healing process.
I know that it can be frightening to watch a loved one suffer, but you don’t have to piece together the puzzle on your own. I’ve been working with teenagers for many years and I know that they truly can have a better understanding of themselves and deal with challenges more effectively. With their commitment to change, I can help equip your child with the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to ensure their healthy development and a successful transition into adulthood.
Right now your child is suffering, looking for hope while you are searching for answers. Although I understand that it can be difficult to reach out, plenty of teenagers and parents are going through something very similar. Further, the services I offer are absolutely confidential, so who you reveal your situation to is entirely up to you.
In our free 15-minute phone consultation, we can address any concerns or questions you may have about my approach to treating anxiety, depression, and other related issues in teens. Then, during our initial intake session, you and I can dig a little deeper into issues before your teenager ever steps foot into a session. That way, you can inform them of what to expect and feel more comfortable, yourself, knowing who will be supporting them through the process.
There are several reasons why therapy may not have had an impact before. There could have been a lack of connection with the therapist, a misunderstanding of the problem, or your child may not have been emotionally ready to talk about their struggles at the time. But as children age, they grow more capable of giving a voice to their pain. Regardless of the past, the important thing is to continue helping your child with the resources and support that is available now.
Please call (650) 223-1952 for your free 15-minute consultation to discuss how I work and ask any questions you may have about my family counseling services.