Teen Counseling in White Plains - Family and Teen Therapy in Greenwich
Dr. Robert M. Fraum, Ph.D. is a teen therapist in Greenwich, marriage and family counselor. He is a New York licensed clinical psychologist, as well as a Connecticut licensed psychotherapist. Teen therapy issues and adolescent counseling recommendations are explored. Dr. Fraum provides adolescent counseling as a teen psychotherapist as part of his marriage counseling and practices family therapy in Greenwich, CT, White Plains, NY and Manhattan, NYC.
Resistance in Therapy
Whatever the presenting problem, teenagers tend to resist the suggestion to try counseling. We can think of teen's reluctance to going or remaining in counseling as coming from two general categories.
The teen's perception of psychotherapy and counseling
- There is a natural resistance to confronting a problem. We may fear that talking about certain issues make us uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or helpless. Some problems may be embarrassing to talk about with anybody. It may be hard to imagine how talking with a complete stranger could help us to feel better or that they could tell us that could be of any help. Besides, we may already have our own solution. It may not work as well as we would like, but it is ours.
Of course it's hard to open up about certain issues or feelings to a complete stranger. By the end of the first or second meeting, the therapist will no longer be a stranger, and you will probably feel a lot better through just getting it out. A therapist can also present new perspectives and options, which you are free to use or reject.
- Some kids think that going to a therapist means that “something is wrong” with them, that they “have a problem,” or even that they are the problem. If going to a therapist feels like they are being labeled or blamed, they will understandably resist.
My clients don't have problems. No one has a problem. A person may be ignoring a problem, or trying to cope with a difficult situation or condition, or trying to fix one with my help. No one person is the problem in their families or schools. Reality is rarely that simple. I cut through labeling and blaming and help to empower kids and families to figure things out and make their lives better.
The psychotherapist approach to treating teenagers in therapy
- Some teenagers believe that professionals are incapable of putting aside their own preconceived ideas or agenda and listening with an open mind. Some are skeptical about the relevance of a professional’s perspectives to the issues that they face in their lives.
Yes, most professionals that kids interact with, like teachers, physicians (and parents to some extent), have a relatively fixed agenda. They are under time pressure, and they need you to get certain things done. So the priority is to cover the material, stay on schedule, and so forth. The agenda is not truly up for discussion. Teenagers tend to get turned off by this kind of interaction unless it is not absolutely necessary.
Psychological counseling is a different kind of relationship. A good psychotherapist is a professional who can listen very carefully to another person's point of view and relate collaboratively, constructively and creatively.
- Some adults have a tendency to talk down to or subtly patronize adolescents, automatically viewing them as lacking in awareness and needing to be directed by adults. They do not really respond positively to a traditional doctor-patient relationship in psychotherapy.
Teenagers want a more genuine dialogue. They can sense when a mental health professional is really listening and relating. They respond best in a collaborative relationship which empowers rather than directs them, or one which provides little or no guidance.
- Some mental health professionals find it difficult to relate to the emotional intensity and candor of teens and may feel threatened or powerless. They may react poorly, by not addressing the kid’s concerns directly, or dismissing his reality. They may try to control the interaction by giving lots of off-target advice or by smothering it in kind but irrelevant empathy.
Teens usually have a built-in falseness detector which puts them into shut-down mode when they perceive that someone is controlling, acting phony, hiding behind role, or otherwise not acting “normal.” If they feel a therapist is ‘not for real,” why should they be?
Read more about family counseling, couples and marriage therapy, family therapy and teen counseling or my best teen counseling and family therapy tips for teens..