Growing Healthy Teens
I have been an adolescent mental health specialist for over 35 years, focusing on what kids needs from their parents, schools, and communities in order to develop into reasonably happy, successful adults. Through the years, what has impressed me most about teenagers is their eagerness to connect with caring adults who will help support and guide them in their journey towards adulthood.
My work with teens is largely based on the concept of Protective Factors and Risks Factors. Protective factors are all of the things that increase the likelihood that a teen will make positive, healthy choices, be successful in school, and then in the world of work, and have positive, mutually satisfying relationships.
Risk Factors are the things that can cause harm and increase the chances that a young person will suffer from mental health problems, develop behaviors that are harmful to themselves and to others, and decrease the chances that they will successfully complete an educational plan and transition successfully into their adult roles.
New DBT Based Group for Teen Girls
Who is this group for?
A candidate for this group will be between 14 and 17 years old, struggling with very intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger, or boredom, and will struggle with at least one of the following: self- harm, thoughts of self-harm, suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, an eating disorder, or frequent relationship conflicts with parents, other adults, and/or peers.
What do you mean by "DBT based" group?
DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Dialectical refers to a type of thinking, and in DBT, the dialectic is learning to accept something for what it is and also, at the same time, acknowledging and committing to change. It means loving and honoring myself, while also realizing that I need to learn new skills to be effective in my life. DBT was initially designed by Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington to help individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, and is now being used to successfully help people with many different disorders.
What will we do in group?
In this group we will:
Requirements for members: Because it is assumed that each member is struggling with some pretty hard stuff, group members are required to be in individual therapy and be willing to sign a consent for me to talk with their individual therapist. Girls can work with me individually as well as be in group, or can work with another individual therapist in the community.
Call Kris for details: 360-386-1946
How do I know if my Teen needs Counseling?
The key to helping youth develop into happy, productive adults is to provide them with support along the way before their problems become obstacles to social, emotional, and academic success. It is never too soon to seek help. Early intervention is usually brief, and can help teens and their families regain a sense of balance and confidence.
Here are some signs that a teenager might have a significant problem, and would benefit from a professional assessment and treatment.
Moods: Everyone gets sad, angry, and disappointed at times. Anger and frustration can be normal responses to certain events. However, if a person seems to be stuck in a particular negative mood for days on end, there may be a significant problem. If a young person's moods are interfering with how they do in school or interact with family members, friends, and teachers, seek professional guidance. With children and teens, problems can quickly snowball quickly.
Attitudes: Most people want to have a positive attitude. However, anxiety, depression, and frustration can make it very difficult to think positively. Kids who say that they hate school, are usually having problems at school that they haven't been able to solve on their own. Kids who are extremely judgmental, often are kids who are very critical towards themselves.
Eating and Food related Activities: Eating issues can be a symptom of depression, anxiety, a developing eating disorder, or of physical health problems. Food restriction, talk of being "fat" or trying to lose weight can be the signs of a developing eating disorder.
Academics: A sudden change in how an adolescent does academically can be a sign that there might be significant social, mental health or substance abuse problem. A few weeks of poor school performance, can quickly snowball into poorer grades, lowered self-esteem, and feelings of panic and hopelessness. Quick intervention is important.
Family Crises: A family crisis might involve substance abuse, divorce, a critical health problem, or even finances. During times of crisis, normal coping skills often fail us. As parents, we can become depleted, unable to meet the needs of those we love. Some kids seem fine during crisis and even "over function." Often kids try to "help" by pretending that every thing is fine for them. Some kids "protect" a parent or siblings be acting happy and fine when they are actually hurting inside.
Self-Harm: Self-harming behaviors are a major problem among tweens, teens, and young adults. These behaviors, whether on purpose or accidentally, can result in permanent damage or even death. They are almost always a sign of intense anxiety or other emotional pain. Types of self-harm include cutting, burning, or carving on ones skin, and might be visible or hidden under clothing. Self-harm can be ingesting or breathing a substance to cause pain. There are many other types of self-harm. Don't wait to seek help.
Substance Abuse: Many kids try alcohol or marijuana, but regular use of these drugs, and any experimentation with other substances such as heroin, other pain pills, amphetamines, or hallucinogens should be considered serious. Many kids who abuse alcohol and drugs are struggling with significant social or emotional problems, and need help.
Many kids welcome the idea of seeing a counselor. Some kids might not be eager, but once we meet, and they realize that I am a pretty decent, cool adult (honest,I am), even the most resistant teenager realizes that seeing a counselor can be a good thing.