Therapy for

Pre-Teens and Teens

 

Pre-teens and teens are waking up to themselves and the world. As pre-teens they take their first steps down the paths of self-exploration and identity formation. This process deepens as they move into their teenage years. It is dramatic, intense, and enlightening. It also tends to be one of the harder periods of life—for parents, too!

Pre-teens are about to embark upon an explosive period of physical and emotional growth, which can be a tremendous challenge for young people to handle. You may find that they’re acting younger than their given age one day, and older the next. They may present an inauthentic version of themselves to their peers and family due to peer pressure or fears of judgement, rejection, or shame. Pre-teens may experience depressed moods, anxiety, low self-esteem, or academic struggles. Family conflict or drama with friends may be at an all-time high, and increasing by the day.

Teens tend to explore and define their identity a bit more explicitly. They’re grappling with the changes and challenges of adolescence while trying to figure out who they are and how they fit within their social community. They may be seeking to affirm their gender identity, sexual orientation, or racial identity. Teens are on the cusp of adulthood, and some respond to this by catapulting themselves into independence, while others react by avoiding self-reliance at all costs. They may be inclined to discount their intuition in favor of a thrill. Self-harm, suicidal thoughts, isolation, conflict, risky sexual behaviors, or substance use may be of concern. At times they may seem like a sovereign nation unto themselves—while at other times they’re the same goofy kids you used to know so well.

In addition, teens and pre-teens may also be grappling with any of the following: 

  • Fighting with peers or family

  • Fear or anxiety about the future

  • Academic struggles, including anxiety or school avoidance

  • Depression

  • Isolation

  • Striving for perfection or conformity

  • Stomachaches, headaches, or other body-based complaints

  • Nightmares

  • Panic attacks

  • Trauma

  • Self-harm

  • Suicidal ideation or attempts

All the while, pre-teens and teens are working their hardest to be themselves in a world that tells them to be someone else. Their efforts are so often misunderstood.

This is where I come in.

You might call me a guide, but I prefer to think of myself as a fellow explorer. I walk side-by-side with pre-teens and teens on a journey to locate their truth and develop their own internal compass. I encourage them to listen to their intuition and I help them to better understand themselves.​

To be able to locate their truth, pre-teens and teens must first be able to connect with their feelings and their bodies. For this reason, our sessions would first focus on the skills of mindfulness and self-awareness. We would then move into the process of learning how to regulate emotions and soothe the body. This helps pre-teens and teens to develop embodiment, which then leads to identifying their truth.

It’s important to note that pre-teens are their own unique age group, and there’s an incredible degree of variability within this group. This variability requires a therapist to seamlessly transition between playing games and talking about school drama. The way I engage pre-teens is completely dependant on how they present. I’ve worked with ten-year-old children who play like they’re four years old, and ten-year-old children who talk like they’re 14 years old. My experience with play therapy is key for this age group. I can use play therapy to connect with pre-teens who won’t talk or who don’t want to initiate therapy (I can use play therapy with teens too!).​

When pre-teens and teens are able to identify their truth—which may be different than their peers’ or parents’ truth—they can begin to trust themselves and feel more solid in their choices. They can begin to express themselves authentically and with integrity.

When pre-teens and teens learn to honor and care for their authentic selves—and when those around them make space for them to be themselves—they’re able to be more present in their relationships and their community. They can make more responsible decisions, communicate more clearly, and find more success and satisfaction in what they enjoy. If they’ve had trauma or difficulties, they can heal, strengthen, and begin to feel comfortable sharing themselves with those whom they can trust.

Are you ready to reach out and offer your pre-teen or teen the support they need to thrive? If so, I’d love to connect with you to learn more and to discuss how I could help in this journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Please use the ‘Request Appointment button’ below or contact me here to schedule a free phone consultation for parents. If it seems like we’d be a good fit, I’ll offer a meet-and-greet with your teen or pre-teen, as well.

 

(720) 903-2870

PO Box 20261, Boulder, CO 80308

©2018 by Kathleen Salmon, LCSW, RPT. Proudly created with Wix.com