PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR ADOLESCENTS:

Christine utilizes individual therapy with adolescents between the age of thirteen and seventeen. She initially schedules 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 made thereafter.

Therapy appointments are usually scheduled for the same time each week in order to provide the adolescent with a secure routine. Parent(s) or guardian(s) may be requested to assist their child with homework activities.

Christine provides assistance in the diagnosis, treatment and management of the following psychological aspects with adolescents:

     •  Academic/Learning Difficulties
     •  Adjustment Difficulties
     •  Anger Management
     •  Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Phobias
     •  Behavioral 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

When would 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, to make friends and to deal with stress.

Signs to be aware of:

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

If you find that your adolescent displays strange, uncharacteristic behaviour (such as being aggressive, destructive or withdrawn) after a specific stressful event (such as divorce, starting at a new school, the birth of a sibling or the death of a loved one) and this behaviour lasts for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 might 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 the 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 benefits of therapy?

     •  Individual therapy offers some of the
         following benefits:
     •  It provides a safe space for emotional
         expression
     •  Individuals learn how to express their
         thoughts and feelings in constructive
         ways
     •  It fosters decision-making and
         acceptance of responsibility
     •  It facilitates the development of
         problem-solving, coping skills and
         resilience
     •  It helps individuals to explore and
         practise social skills
     •  It allows adolescents to learn from
         mistakes safely
     •  It encourages confidence and
         concentration
     •  It fosters imagination and creativity
     •  It supports emotional healing and
        growth

Adapted from: www.playtherapy.co.za
©Copyright 2018 Christine Slabbert
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980
©Copyright 2016 Christine Darney
HPCSA Number:       PS 0119733
Practice Number:     0524980