Teens will face many trials and challenges along their road to adulthood. Parents who come to see me, will often ask me:
- My teen is moody, grumpy, and rolls their eyes at me when I try to talk to them. How should I talk to them?
- My teen is being defiant and acting out of control, and it seems to be getting worse. How do I stop them from breaking our family's rules?
- Lately my teen is worried about everything, and she had a panic attack at school the other day. How can I help her?
- My teen doesn't take care of herself at all. She eats poorly, isn't sleeping, and is on her phone all day. What can I do?
- When my teen is home, she is in her room or on the couch watching tv. I can't get her to do anything, and she is so lazy. How do I motivate my teen to do something?
- My teen got her report card for last semester and her grades have dropped significantly. Should we be worried?
- I found scars on my teens legs yesterday, and they look like cutting marks. I am so worried to tell her I know, but she needs help. How do I tell her she needs to talks to someone?
- I have a feeling my teen is struggling with depressed. She is grumpy and irrupted, and sleeping all the time and eating everything. How do I talk to her about it?
- I am worried that my daughter is not eating, and when she does eat I am pretty sure she is throwing it up. I am worried about her, but when I say something to her she gets so angry. How do I tell her she needs to talk to someone?
- All my teens friends are starting to plan for the future, but my teen doesn't know what she is going to do. Is this normal? What can I do to help her get motivated?
If you are like these parents, You are trying the best you can to help your teen navigate through this 'stuck-place' they are finding themselves in.
But, you have a feeling they need more help.
Finding a good Therapist to help your teen can be a daunting task. One of the most essentials things in finding a good Therapist is:
- The Therapist demonstrates experience and knowledge in teenage development and mental health;
- The Therapist has extensive experience working with teenagers, and understands how to connect with them on 'their level'. Often teens will want to connect with a Therapist who is relatable, warm, open, and who is authentic (teens—especially teen girls — are very intuitive to authenticity in people);
- You feel comfortable and informed on the approach and treatment plan the Therapist has outlined for your teen;
- If the teen is living at home, the Therapist offers support and consultations for you as parents when and where needed;
- And finally (and most importantly!), your teen should connect with the Therapist. Your teen should be allowed to have a say in who she connects with. I describe that first appointment like trying to find the right pair of shoes— the Therapist may be a perfect fit for some, but just not the right one for your teen.
*If your teen meets with a Therapist, and it is not a good fit, the Therapist should have other Mental Health Professionals she can refer you to with a similar expertise .
Over the years, I have developed a holistic-integrative approach to working with teens and their families. I blend the following evidence-based approaches into my practice with teens:
- Psycho-Edcuation, including education on Neuroscience, Development, and Teen Attachment Relationships & Styles;
- Emotion-Focused Therapy;
- Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy, including Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction;
- Cognitive & Dialectical Behavioural Therapy;
- Skill-building including: Self-Regulation, Healthy Mindset Training, Solution-Focused Goal Setting;
- Attachment-Based & Relational Therapy, Family Therapy, and Parent Consultations to help you as parents successful navigate through the teenage years.
What to expect:
After your initial parent consultation, we will book 1 individual session for your teen to meet me and decide if we are a good fit for one another. After this initial session, your teen and I will book 3 more weekly sessions together. After these 3 sessions, a few things may happen: we may have a parent consultation or family session, we may book some more weekly sessions, we may move to bi-weekly or monthly sessions (maintenance sessions).
My teen doesn't want to come to Therapy, what should I do? It is so important that your teen feels that they have some autonomy in this process. I always suggest parents book a 30-minute complimentary phone consultation with me, so we can individualize the approach on how to get your teen into meet me. But as a general approach, I ask that parents of teens living in the home give their teen the choice between 2-3 Therapists to choose from. From there, you can say "it is mandatory you choose a Therapist to have 1 session with." Once your teen comes to see me for their initial session, it is my job to align and connect with your teen which often involves meeting them where they are at in their own process; and is her choice whether she wants to move forward with therapy. In my practice with teens, 98% of the time a teen will commit to therapy after this initial session.
My teen doesn't think she has a problem, how can I tell her she needs help? It can be so difficult when you are seeing your child struggle with their mental health; especially when she is engaging in reckless or harmful behaviour. The most important thing is to connect with your teen, and tell them you are worried for them. The conversation should be calm (it is okay to take breaks, and come back to the conversation when things get heated), and solution-focused. In this blog I share a few pointers on how to guide this conversation.
How many sessions should we commit to? The journey toward mental wellness will look different for every teen. However, in my practice with teens, I have families commit to 3-weekly initial session, and then we go from there. Depending on what is going for your teen, and where they are in the process, we may continue to meet weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or as-needed. I will be working closely with your teen and family to determine what is best therapeutically for your teen.
Are you covered under my insurance plan? I am a member in good standing with the Ontario College of Psychotherapists. As a Registered Psychotherapist, most insurance providers with extend coverage for my support. However, please connect directly with your insurance provider to inquire if they provide coverage for Registered Psychotherapists.
Can I book and pay online? I offer convenient and secure online options for both payment and booking. Once we schedule your teen's initial session, you and your teen will be invited into your own secure client portal. Here you can schedule and reschedule appointments, as well as pay for your sessions via any major credit card. Because often teens come in alone for therapy, you may conveniently leave your credit card details on file via your client portal, and your card will be billed following each session. Parents of teens love this option as it allows their teen to attend their sessions relatively independently.
Michelle Brans MACP RP
Over the past decade, I have helped hundreds of families and teens navigate successfully into adulthood. I hold a Masters in Counselling Psychology, and am Registered Psychotherapist with the Ontario College of Psychotherapist. My specialization is in helping teen girls (ages 12-24) develop resiliency to overcome: stress, anxiety, depression, disordered eating, self-harm, addictive behaviour, school challenges, and conflict with parents.
This year I am so honoured to be able to offer 3 bursaries for teens to receive 10-weeks of therapeutic support.
These bursaries have been made possible by fundraising through our 2017 Butterfly Project. Through this amazing community-based stewardship project, we are able raise money for families who are unable to access private-care mental health solutions for their family.
If you are interested in learning more, becoming a sponsor, or supporting our 2018 Butterfly Project, we would love to hear from you.
If you feel your teen would qualify to receive a bursary, please call or email us today. Deadline for these bursaries is June 15, 2018. We truly look forward to hearing from you!