When it comes to problems or issues with adolescents - the good news is “this too shall pass”. Many times, adolescents are going through a developmental stage that is putting a strain on family relationships, peer relationships and school performance. Like parents, teens are more stressed than ever with the demands of modern life. However, if you have concerns about your teen’s emotional well-being, then you are probably right. Parents know their children better than anyone else.
The first thing I will do will be to meet with you and your child. Following a careful evaluation and assessment of the problem, parents will receive a recommendation regarding treatment options which may include family, group, or individual therapy. I may also refer you to other treatment professionals such as medical doctors or occupational therapists.
Confidentiality for Adolescents
Parents should be aware that the age of consent for therapy in Washington State is 13. In short, this means that treatment for teens is confidential- even to parents- except in some limited situations, such as a risk of imminent harm to someone else or to the teen (such as a threat to commit suicide). Therapists cannot give you details about your child’s treatment without the consent of the child. This is a difficult issue for parents who are afraid that their teens might be using drugs or having unprotected sex. However, it is the current law in this state and I must comply with the law.
My Philosophy Regarding Medication
Another controversial issue is the use of medication to treat emotional and behavioral problems in adolescents. I recognize that some children benefit from medication prescribed by a medical professional experienced in treating behavioral issues. If I believe that medication will be helpful for your child, I will refer you to such a professional. However, I believe it is advisable to attempt other therapeutic approaches first because of several concerns about the use of psychotropic medications in children and teens. I would be happy to discuss this with you individually as I determine whether a medication referral is right for you and your child.
I am qualified as a Child Mental Health Specialist in Washington State. This means that I have met education and experience requirements for treating children and adolescents established by state standards.