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Counseling For Teens & Adolescents

Teenager counseling & therapy


Parenting a teen is a clunky endeavor.

Suddenly, your child is out in the world. They are fully exposed to all things dangerous, precarious, addictive and complicated.  To make matters worse, parents often find that as their child enters adolescence, their teen starts to pull away from them.  The tether between parent and teen is much more lengthy than it previously was.  For parents this can be anxiety inducing at best and terrifying at it’s worst.

Parenting a teen can feel a lot like climbing to the top of Mt. St. Helen’s in August.  The silty, shifty soil slides under your feet as you slowly work your way up and you slide back with each step you take.  Progress is slow and you literally take two steps forward and one step back.  And if you want to reach the summit (your teen becoming a thriving and stable adult), there’s no other way than plodding up.  Moving through the slippery silt is to weather and endure the conflict, the sadness, the fear, and the complications.  As you persist forward, you both will be better off for it.

If you & your teen are experiencing any of the following, therapy can help

  • Feeling frustrated & scared when they won’t talk to you about what’s really happening
  • Feeling helpless to help them
  • Know or suspect unsafe behavior is happening, like drugs, alcohol, or self-harm behavior (cutting, sexually acting out, etc.)
  • Your teen constantly troubled by challenges with their friends
  • Your teen struggles with depression and/or anxiety
  • Know they need support but annoyed because they reject it from you
  • Feeling sad because they aren’t the sweet kid you used to know

Therapy for Teens

Therapy for your teen can be one of the most effective and powerful things you can do.  This is because your teen needs help, guidance, and accountability. But here’s the trick…not from you.

Adolescents are a special breed for sure. They are busy becoming their own person and often they see you as a major impediment in doing that.

Counseling becomes a safe way for your teen to get the support and accountability they need. Whether they are troubled by depression or anxiety or something else, counseling is a proven path towards positive growth and maturity.

Counseling for Parents of Teens

Counseling can also be helpful for you, the parent. Therapy can help you navigate the complex and often illogical world of parenting an adolescent.  Therapy can help you relate to your child with more intentionality and patience.

benefits of Teen therapy in portland oregon

Benefits of Therapy for Teens are:

  • Increased self awareness for teen
  • Positive modeling & mentoring from an adult
  • Helps teen to regulate emotionally
  • Provides safe & neutral space for teens & their parents to communicate
  • Empowers teen through offering respect & understanding by an empathetic adult
  • Encourages teen to see responsibility as self-empowering & freeing
  • Helps to educate & empower teen to make safe choices
  • Teaches parents the often confusing  art of parenting a teen
  • More patience and intentionality from parent

Our Unique Approach to Therapy for Teenagers

Our skilled & experienced family therapists have been well-trained in family-systems in addition to the developmental needs of adolescents.  More than that, our counselors know how to connect with teens in an authentic and real way.

Teens need that realness in their relationships. They aren’t going to trust someone who isn’t willing to level with them. Our counselors also know how to skillfully help teens learn to safely take responsibility for their lives.

Call or Text 503-349-2281 to lean how we can help your teen


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Common questions about therapy for teens

Common questions about therapy for teens

1. “Why does your center allow individual sessions with teenagers when you are a family counseling center?”

Part of an adolescent’s job is to push against their caregiver’s limits to establish more independence on their path to adulthood.  Sometimes an important aspect of their process is to have time and space to reflect on their needs and feelings.  Often adolescents are more open to skill building and new information when their parents are not present.  We will always encourage teens to have some sessions with their parents present but sometimes it is important for a teen to have some solo sessions.

2. “I want my teenager to feel safe sharing information about themselves in therapy but what if my teenager shares something in therapy that I should know about?”

In the state of Oregon, adolescents are entitled to seek mental health services without their parent’s consent.  Teens who are 14 and older can request that their therapist not share any content of our sessions with their parent and their therapist will legally need to comply.  If teens share information about risky behavior or experiencing abuse, the therapist will discuss the importance of sharing this information with a parent and give them options for how they’d like to share this information with a parent/caregiver.  Beyond these guidelines, we welcome your family’s unique requests for privacy as long as they feel safe and comfortable for teen, parent and your therapist.

3. “I’ve had a bad experience with a therapist before.  How do I choose a therapist that won’t turn my teen off of therapy forever?”

Therapy is like anything else, if you want to find a product or service that fits best for you, the it is important to shop around.  It can be helpful to have your teen meet with 2 or 3 therapists and have them choose who they want to work with.  The therapists at our center are experienced with working with teens and their families.  We hope to empower teens and families through this tricky phase of development and support healthy communication between parents and teens.

4. “My teenager is opposed to almost anything I suggest.  How do I get her into therapy?”

We encourage parents to engage their teen in the process of entering therapy.  We encourage you to talk to your teen about how you view the current challenges and your hopes for how therapy would help.  Encourage them to reflect on any changes they’d like to see in their lives or their relationship with you.  Then, find a therapist who can help you both move toward your goals.  If your teen is adamantly opposed to being in therapy, it probably won’t be useful to them anyway.  Sometimes parents and teens agree to a three session trial run.  If after three sessions, the teen still does not want to be in therapy, we encourage parents to try another therapist or drop it for the time being.  Even if the teen refuses therapy, it can be helpful for the parent(s) to attend a few sessions to gain some strategies and resources for parenting teens.



If our approach sounds appealing to you,

we would love to hear from you

call or text: 503-349-2281


Email Us