What to expect
While your parents may have made the initial appointment for us and you may have not chosen to come see me, my hope is that you at least come with an open mind and be curious how it might be helpful.
Here a few things that might help:
Therapy isn't about someone doing something "to" you -- it isn't about fixing you, or changing who you are, or lecturing you.
There are probably lots of adults already in your life that may be telling you what you should or shouldn't do--I won't be one of them.
You are likely pretty smart and have a good idea what is right and wrong. I am interested in understanding what you care about, how you want to make your life better, and what supports you.
Therapy isn't about changing you. You are fine as you are! Any difficulties you are having now are because of things going on in your life you might still be learning how to handle. I support you in working through that stuff as your "best self."
Seeing a therapist doesn't mean that you are in trouble
Sometimes there are things we have done or said that created conflict or issues in our family or at school, with friends or even with the law. While those issues are real, you aren't in trouble with me for them.
I won't shame or blame you.
I've worked with hundreds of teens, and something I hear a lot is "it is really good to have a place to talk about things without worrying about being judged or lectured."
Our family and our friends can be there for us sometimes and for some things, and sometimes we really want a place to talk or figure things out that doesn't involve the people in our life.
Therapy can feel awkward at the beginning
Sharing what we think and feel with another person takes trust. Our first task together is for you to get a feel for whether I am someone you feel comfortable talking with.
This is what our first appointment will be about--you getting a chance to meet me, share a little bit about what is going on, and for us to see how that feels.
Often the trust develops pretty quickly, sometimes it takes a few sessions. The main thing is that you feel trust is possible!
What helps is for you to have some goals for yourself and our work together
Therapy is a partnership. Part of my respect for you is I am not going to assume what you think or feel about things. That isn't very respectful! So we each have our part. Your part is to have some idea of what would make our time together helpful for you.
A common goal is to manage our emotions in a different way--to feel less anxious, to manage depression, to feel more comfortable around other people.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we don't know how to deal with, and it is helpful to talk this through with someone with experience dealing with these things.
Often parents have issues they want addressed, and we can certainly talk about those things and how they affect you.
But we will also have our goals, and regardless of what they are, it is important that they feel useful to you.
What will you tell my parents?
Our conversations are private, with very few exceptions related to your safety. Before you come to your first appointment I will send you some information about those very specific exceptions, but you can come to your first appointment knowing that what you tell me will be confidential.