PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ADOLESCENTS:                                     

I conduct individual therapy with adolescents between the age of thirteen and eighteen. I will sometimes schedule an Intake Interview, with the adolescent’s parent(s) or guardian(s), in order to obtain background information relating to the presenting problem or concern. An appointment to begin therapy with the adolescent is usually made thereafter. Therapy appointments are typically scheduled for the same time each week in order to provide the adolescent with a secure routine.

When might an adolescent benefit from attending therapy?

It is very important that emotional and behavioural problems are dealt with at an early stage. If left untreated these problems may cause an adolescent and their family a great deal of distress. If an adolescent does not understand their behaviour, or have control over it, it can cause fear and break down confidence. This can impact on other areas of life, such as the ability to complete tasks and schoolwork, make friends or deal with stress.

Signs to be aware of:

Aggressive behaviour towards self or others
Behavioural regression
Difficulty adjusting to family changes
Excessive anger, worry, sadness or fear
Excessive shyness
Learning or other school difficulties
Low self-esteem
Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches that have no medical cause
Self-harm or suicidal behaviour
Separation anxiety
Sleep, eating or elimination problems

If you find that your adolescent displays strange, uncharacteristic behaviour (such as being aggressive, destructive or withdrawn) after a specific stressful event (such as divorce, starting at a new school, the birth of a sibling or the death of a loved one) and this behaviour lasts for at least two weeks, it is recommended that you seek professional help. This behaviour may be an indication that your adolescent is not able to deal with and express what he or she is experiencing or feeling.

How long will therapy last?

The duration of therapy is often dependent on the adolescent's personality, the nature of the bond between adolescent and therapist and the nature of the problem. Some adolescents are very shy and need a lot of encouragement to express their feelings and thoughts, while others are more willing to talk.

Adolescents who have been hurt badly by adults in the past may be apprehensive and may need a long time to trust someone and feel free to express themselves. Some adolescents have developed clever ways to avoid thinking about their feelings because this process is too painful. They may need time to feel safe, to break down their barriers and to build the courage needed to deal with their emotions and the painful events in their lives.

In general, an adolescent usually attends therapy for a minimum of six sessions. This provides the adolescent and therapist with sufficient time to build a relationship of trust and to have time to discover more about the adolescent’s thoughts and feelings. The adolescent will then become more comfortable expressing him or herself and be open to discussing potential solutions.

What are the potential benefits of therapy?

1.  It provides a safe space for emotional expression.
2.  Individuals learn how to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways.
3.  It fosters decision-making and acceptance of responsibility.
4.  It facilitates the development of problem-solving, coping skills and resilience.
5.  It helps individuals to explore and practise social skills.
6.  It allows adolescents to learn from mistakes safely.
7.  It encourages confidence and concentration.
8.  It fosters imagination and creativity.
9.  It supports emotional healing and growth.

I provide assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and management of the following psychological aspects with adolescents:

Adjustment difficulties
Anger management
Anxiety, panic attacks and phobias
Behavioural problems
Bereavement and loss
Body image
Bullying
Depression and other mood disorders
Discipline
Eating disorders
Exam stress, study skills and performance anxiety
Relationship difficulties
Self-esteem and identity development
Self-harm behaviours
Substance abuse
Trauma
©Copyright 2020 Christine Slabbert
©Copyright 2020 Christine Darney
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980