Another important role for the teen therapist is in enhancing conflict resolution. Teens are changing fast and parents are constantly playing catch-up and coming up short when the next developmental stage hits full force. Negotiation skills need to be re-tooled continuously, for both parents and teens, to maintain respect for each other and cherish the growth that is taking place. Issues of separation begin to loom large as high school progresses and adulthood approaches, and families are at risk for letting anger or alienation rule this process. How this inevitable separation is navigated sets the stage for the lifelong family relationships which emerge when childhood is finished.
Therapy with teens and pre-teens is one of the more satisfying parts of my clinical practice. Much of my training has been in this area. I spent my pre- and post-doctoral internships in settings which had a major focus on child and adolescent therapy. Additionally I worked for several years doing psychological assessments and therapy for adolescents and children through the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto and the National Institute for Dyslexia in Maryland. Perhaps my best training, though, has been in the raising and launching of my own two children, both graduates of Gunn High School in Palo Alto and their first-choice universities, and both now enjoying the fruits of happy and productive young adulthood.
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