Adolescents see a psychologist for the same reason that adults do, they are struggling with managing their thoughts, feelings or behaviours. In addition adolescents are going through a rapid period of change and suddenly dealing with a much more complex world and having much more complex experiences which may temporarily overload their capacity to cope. At this time some additional help to normalise the experiences and help to develop coping strategies may be helpful.
The adolescent period can be a very anxious one for parents as they see their child becoming more independent and possibly having experiences they are concerned about.If your child is struggling you may be very keen for them to get help but trying to force someone to attend and open up may not be effective, and it is much better that attendance is voluntary.
Although parents can encourage their teen to attend, after the first session the young person will be given the opportunity to make a decision of their own about whether therapy in general, aw well as the specific therapist is right for them at this time.
The adolescent years cover a broad range of ages, therefore it is an individual consideration if parents should attend with the young person or they attend alone.Younger adolescents may prefer a parent to be present most of the time, while older adolescents may prefer to attend independently.
In most cases the parent will be included in the first session so that everyone is on the same page regarding how therapy works and can contribute their perspectives on the presenting issues.After that the young person chooses whether their parents are present or not, and commonly there is a combination of both.Some sessions are useful for parents to be part of in order to help them understand their child’s issues and what helps and doesn’t, while at other times it is better for the young person to explore the issues without concern for parental approval.
Adolescent sessions are confidential in the same way that adult sessions are. There are legal exceptions concerning feedback to referring doctors, mandatory reporting of risk of harm, and response to subpoenas if there is a court case, but information about adolescent therapy is only disclosed to parents with the adolescents permission.