Adolescent & Family Therapy
The teen years and twenties are a time of dramatic growth, experimentation, and learning, and can be as confusing as they are rich and exciting. Finding one's way through the sometimes-overwhelming maze of possibilities is not an easy task. In my experience, therapy can by an ally for this process, offering invaluable support and nurturing for a young person's growing sense of self.
Integral therapy for adolescents, young adults, and families may support:
A healthy sense of self
Feeling seen, heard, and understood
Positive role modeling
Improved family communication
A sense of meaning, purpose, and life direction
Issues that may be addressed by therapy:
Problematic drug and/or alcohol use
Self-confidence and self-esteem issues
Questions around gender identity and sexual orientation
Work or career challenges
Part of therapy with adolescents, young adults, and families is reestablishing a sense of connection with oneself, with others, and with the larger world, including nature. The therapy room ideally becomes a place of safety and belonging, and this sense of belonging can then be slowly restored in other areas of life. In my practice, I encourage family members to be included in the therapy process, and invite the threads of connection to be rewoven both within the family and within each individual. Just as relationships can be sources of challenge in our lives, I believe that relationships also have the power to bring about healing.
It is important to note that family therapy is often a difficult journey that requires the investment of all family members. Despite the challenge, the potential benefit is great. I welcome you to schedule a free initial consultation so that we determine if my services are a good match for you.
I particularly enjoy working with adolescents and young adults, and have been serving young people in various roles ever since I was a teenager. In 2010, I co-founded a nature-based mentoring program for teenage boys in Central Oregon. A core intention of this program was to give young people the opportunity to learn to hear the call of their inner selves. We used nature as our classroom, and relied on the support of family and friends to give our participants a sense of being part of a larger community. I was profoundly inspired to see the positive changes that took place for these youth in such a short amount of time. These experiences inspired me to become a therapist, and continue to inform my work today.
The Journey to Adulthood
In cultures around the world, the journey to adulthood has traditionally been marked by initiation. As a child grows older, their elders and community recognize their development through collective rituals and ceremonies that mark the passage from one phase of life into another.
In modern, postindustrial, Westernized societies, the web of relationships that would support these rituals is often fractured, and traditions of welcoming youth into the community have been lost. As a result, young people are left without a sense of belonging, and must navigate through the challenges of growing up without elders, mentors, and other trusted adults to guide them. Relying only on their peers, many youth and young adults feel isolated from the adult world and have no motivation to join it. Or, if they are attempting to find their place in the adult world, they may do not know how to do so in a way that preserves their authenticity and sense of values.
Across the United States, there appears to be a crisis of disconnection among youth. Psychologists and other researchers have pointed out that a sense of disconnection can lead youth to addiction, violence, and mental health issues.
In the small ways that I am able to effect change, my work seeks to reverse this trend. As an integral mental health therapist, I I believe that one antidote to this current crisis is to welcome youth back into a sense of connection with themselves, with others, and with the "more-than-human world" - that is, the world of nature.
For some young people, immersion in nature can be an excellent catalyst for the therapeutic process. I am available to schedule outdoor, nature-based therapy sessions with adolescents at a number of local parks and wild areas. Please contact me for more information.
"It takes a village to raise a child, but once childhood is over it takes a culture that blesses the dream trying to awaken in the soul of each young person. Children can be admonished and even controlled, but youth are on the edge of the great passions of the human soul that can burn towards destruction or else become a light that brightens and animates an entire culture."
- Michael Meade