Thanks for checking out this page and, at least, considering counseling. If you're a teen, this page if for you.
First of all, there are a lot of misconceptions of what therapy is and who it's for. We want to give you a realistic sense of what it is and isn't, at least from our perspective.
Therapy is not:
- For f#@k'd up or crazy people. If you're even considering therapy then you're taking a step in the direction of being healthy and whole. It takes character and courage to go to therapy.
- About you being bad or in trouble. You shouldn't be forced to come to therapy. We don't expect you to be excited about coming at first but we would want you to be at least willing to come because you're curious about how it might be helpful.
- Going to involve us lecturing or talking down to you. You've probably already gotten enough lectures coming your way. We're guessing you're pretty smart and don't need another adult telling you what's right and wrong. We're much more interested in your point of view and learning about how you see the world so that we can help you sort out the things that matter to you.
- About changing who you are. You're perfect the way you are. Any problems you're having are about tools and skills that you haven't learned yet as well as dynamics that are happening in your family that are only partially to do with you.
- About blaming your parents or anyone else. Your parents may be annoying and insanely frustrating to you at times but they love you and are trying the best they can. Hopefully they'll be open to working on some things as well.
- A mostly confidential space for you. It's super important that you trust us and feel comfortable. No one else, other than your parents, will know that you're in therapy unless you tell them. What you share with us in private will be kept confidential unless we have reasonable concerns about your safety or the safety of someone else.
- A place to learn skills and feel better about things. Over the last 12 years, we've seen hundreds of teens. Most of them are struggling with things like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger issues, school and/or family conflicts or friendship issues. The vast majority of those kids feel better about things within a few months.
- Much more common than you think. You'd be surprised how many other "normal" kids at your school are in therapy. Everyone seems to think they're the only one because no one talks about it. Hopefully the stigma of going to therapy will one day be replaced by an acknowledgement that people in therapy are fundamentally strong and are simply getting help to get through a difficult period in their lives.
- Going to significantly increase the chances that you'll be happy and successful in the future.
Are you interested in connecting with other teens in more honest and authentic ways?
If you are and you're between the ages of 15 and 18, consider joining our teen group.
"That would be so awkward!"
"I'm not really a group person."
"I'm not going to talk about personal things to a bunch of people I don't know!"
I totally get it and I have no judgement if you decide to opt out of this. You may even be right, this may not be for you right now.
But let me just tell you about this group from the perspective of the teens that have gone through it:
They would tell you that:
"The first part of the first group is a bit uncomfortable but by the end of that first day, everyone ends up being glad they came."
"It's really nice to have a place to talk about whatever's on your mind and have people listen and care."
"It's really really helpful to know that other teens are going through similar things as you."
"Some of the strategies and skills Yshai teaches are really helpful for managing stress."
Yshai's hilarious (ok, maybe I made that one up).
Over time this group bonds and becomes like a second family.
When we ended last June, everyone was sad that it was over.
If you're considering this, I'm guessing you might have some questions. You're welcome to email me or leave me a voice mail (503-289-1584). I also think it would be a good idea for us to meet in person for a little bit. This meeting could include your parent if you want and it will make it much easier for you to decide if this is something you want to do or not.
"I don't think I'm up for therapy but I would like more info. about some stuff."
Here are some websites and numbers that I think are good to know about.
- www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1-800-273-TALK
- Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888