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Both Sides Now

From my almost famous Podcast:

Describe how to engage an adolescent starting therapy - start very slowly and gently, take a few sessions to get to know them, no need to rush to trauma story, match/mirror their style.  They are mistrustful of adults - what a world we have left them!  They want control and structure.

Explain how the pandemic affected young adults' mental health - we all know that they went underground, with their phones and lost their minds - girls became anxious because of the lack of socialization that is critical for development - IF they were pre-disposed by genetics or environment, this pushed them inward: overthinking.  I went on a date, had a great time.  But I have a pimple so it’s all shot: all or nothing thinking.

Assess the difference between normal and crisis behaviors in teens - a scratch is not the same as slashes across the entire body - i will ask to see it and try to keep a poker face.  You do NOT want me to call your parents; so stop.  You may have to go to hospital, or you can learn these simple skills: grounding, breathing, mindfulness, yoga & distress tolerance.

Why do you like to work with such a high risk population?  Because they are capable of change in a week!  How exciting is that.  My journey took decades!!    They are colorful and full of potential.  They are motivated!  (If they are forced, it won’t work) They will say do you know tiktok - yeah - I invented it.  [I added mind/body to my repertoire when I got sciatica.  I added social media because I was an early adopter - helps isolation and organization.  I added my two girls’ experience when they became teens.  I recognized my own trauma and burn out when I met Bessel Van der Kolk].

What are some therapeutic styles that assist in connection?  My style is casual.  YOU CAN TELL ME ANYTHING and I won’t flinch.  They will even look at you and say things to test your expression.  I am ready to join the resistance - wow you’re parents are so rigid!!  I wonder what happened to them??!!

How to work with teens on mind/body interventions - in session or out - explain different somatic approaches and dive into any one of them.  Be open to exploration and the process.  Do NOT be open to RED FLAGS.  You will know.  If you hear one, you must change course. Diagnosis: (severity and degree/diagnosis) - you may not have one. Helpful to know, but you are more than a diagnosis!

When do you engage the family in therapy with teens - if RED FLAGS are continuous, it’s time to get to know the family as well.  Help the teen make their own agenda - it’s not your agenda, it’s theirs.  It’s not your intervention, it’s theirs.  I can list hundreds of ideas but if they’re not for you it won’t work.  OWN YOUR LIFE.


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