As someone who has worked with children, adolescents, and college students since 2004, I have a lot of experience working with younger people. I find that I tend to be successful with them because I don’t talk down to them; I speak to them honestly and directly. Children, adolescents, and young adults appreciate the opportunity to speak for themselves.
Another key aspect of working with younger people is being familiar with, and taking into account, developmental factors. There are so many firsts happening, including thinking for oneself, falling in love, dealing with complicated emotions, and failing (to name a few). Young people tend to either be unaware of the consequences of these firsts or assume excessive blame and responsibility when they aren’t coping as effectively as possible.
While I certainly enjoy talking with younger people, sometimes it helps to try to involve them in therapy in different ways. Using different types of media to explore emotions, or tossing a stress ball back and forth, can help younger people feel more comfortable exploring what’s going on with them.
I believe that it’s also important to listen to parents and their concerns. If someone is over the age of 18, anything that comes up in therapy is confidential. However, if there is something that I believe you should know as a parent so that you can support your child, I will encourage them to let all parties come together to talk about strategies to help your child. If your child is under the age of 18, I ask that you respect their privacy in asking both me and your child for information. Please trust that if your child shares something that puts them in danger, we will talk about that concern with you.