“To love means to be actively concerned for the life and the growth of another.”
Working with teens in our therapy practice, we know that when teenagers are struggling, parents are struggling.
It’s heart breaking to go through a hard time with your teenager. Your teenager is your baby. As a parent, you worry more than your teenager likely knows. One of the great challenges of parenting teenagers is that there can be a lot to worry about.
We are experts at connecting with adolescents - we can talk and stay cool, while at the same time, we understand parents’ fears, worries and needs. Teenagers need a therapist who is on their side and they can trust to talk about the hard stuff in their lives (perhaps including tough stuff with their parents). This needs to be balanced with parents’ very real concerns. The art in what we do at Watershed is helping a teenager feel confident. We aren’t going to betray his or her trust, while recognizing that parents need to be a part of the therapy, as well as need access and guidance. Rather than offer teenagers a rigid set of rules (as in “I won’t share such and such”), we offer a deeper trust as in, “I’m on your side, but I’m also on your parents’ side.”
Families can be terrible at listening to one another, and the fight can last for years.
In family therapy we can help shift the paradigm from individual nagging (how can we meet everyone’s needs?) to group contributions (what does the family need?). Families may require a breadth of resources; my background in education enables me to assess the needs across a range of potential issues, and make recommendations accordingly. Most of all, we can help each family member see the others as they are, rather than as that family member wishes they were. Once family members begin to relate to each other that way, old wounds can often heal.
We believe families function as a sort of system. When one family member is struggling, everyone is. But the reverse is true too: We can help everyone in the family by engaging everyone. If part of the system grows, everyone grows.
When you can't visit our office, getting on the phone or having a video chat with us can help stabilize your family during holydays.
Being cramped in the house together can be hard enough without having to manage school, work, time together, time apart, exercise, cooking and everything else that goes into running a home. We can help. I have been making “video calls" by doing therapy through Zoom, Skype and FaceTime this year, and I am experienced with the stages of distance therapy with families.
Watershed Counselling can guide you to:
collaborate with children regarding technology and media;
communicate with peers and model how to interact in a respectful manner;
set boundaries, motivate, respect and encourage;
In teenager counselling, the hardest part is getting them in the door.
Your psychotherapist can work with them but if they are not willing to come you may like to come alone. Parents sometimes get a reputation for being disconnected from their kid’s struggles, but we have found that doesn’t usually match up with reality. Plenty of parents are involved in teenagers' lives, but still struggle to connect with what’s happening or, more relevantly, how to help.