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January 2017 Newsletter

A Family Changing Together

by Sophia Dyer, MFT

Adolescence can be hard. We’ve all been there. We know how quickly our moods could fluctuate, how difficult it was to see our bodies change so rapidly, and how we found ourselves doing and saying things we never thought we would. Yet, as we get older, we feel less and less connected to those emotions and challenges. When kids start to struggle during the teenage years, it can be easy to think “they just need to change” or “they need an attitude adjustment.” While teens are responsible for their actions, if you buy into the notion that your teen’s struggles are his/hers to manage and change alone, you might find yourself waiting forever to see the changes you desire.  

When teens come to counseling, they are often struggling with the pressures of school, friends, and family life. Navigating this time in their life can be difficult. However, if parents and the family as a whole are able to identify each of their roles in what is occurring and are willing to change, progress can happen much faster. So what can parents do to best support the change they desire in their teen?

Start by listening. When your child was younger, you needed to tell him/her what to do and how to do it. They needed constant, explicit direction. As children approach their teenage years, they want - they need - to start learning how to make decisions for themselves and begin to identify who they want to be in this world. Will they make mistakes? Absolutely. But spending time listening to their needs, trying to understand their decisions, and - when they make mistakes - encouraging them to explain how they want to fix those mistakes, will help them learn how to make better decisions in the future.

Reflect on your own hopes and fears. As your teen begins to change, you might feel like you don’t recognize the person he/she is turning into. As a parent, you have hopes and dreams for your child that you might not even realize are there. When your teen is struggling, it can be extremely difficult to watch. One of the best things you can do is identify your own hopes and fears about the future and manage the anxious feelings they bring you. Your teen is still trying on different identities and trying to figure out who he/she is. By managing your own preconceived hopes and fears about your child’s future, you will give your teen the space to find his/her true self.

Find positive time to spend together. When teens are facing tough challenges, they can often be cruel and harsh to the people closest to them. You might find yourself feeling that there are never any positive moments together and become apprehensive about every interaction. While it might be hard, finding positive moments together can help buffer the difficult ones. It will help your teen realize that not each situation has to be a fight or struggle. Try to look at each moment independently and make it as positive as possible, and make an effort to schedule time to do something with your teen you know they will enjoy.

Seek out parent support counseling. Sometimes teens are in a space where it feels almost impossible to identify the best way to support them. By engaging in parent support counseling, you will be able to address concerns as they arise, make necessary changes on a weekly basis, and identify different strategies you can use to best support your teen. Additionally, you will be sending your teen the message that you are not only expecting them to change, but that you are willing to join them in changing. Parent support counseling can help you find the best way to support your child, while also providing you the support you need to get through a difficult time.  

We all remember being a teenager and the bittersweet memories those years bring. It is important to feel empathy for your teens when they struggle, and look inward to find ways to support them and show them they are loved. It often takes the whole family to make long-lasting, positive change.

Would you like additional guidance for yourself or your teen? Contact us at 408.389.3538 to learn more about how we can help.

About The Author

Sophia Dyer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the Executive Director of Teen Therapy Center's sister center, Family Therapy Center of Silicon ValleyWith a special focus on couples and relationships counseling, she uses a client-centered and strength-based approach to clinical assessment and treatment. Sophia provides a supportive and welcoming environment in which her clients can explore challenging emotions and experiences to grow and develop as individuals. Additional areas of interest include depression, anxiety, trauma, sexuality, and life transitions.

Workshop for Parents of Anxious Teens

February 1st, February 8th, and February 15th
7:00 – 9:00 PM

$350 per person/$500 per couple
Does your teen worry and become anxious despite your best efforts to calm him/her?
Do you want to learn new ways to help defuse your teen’s anxiety?
Would you like to learn new skills to help your teen throughout his/her life?
Through this workshop, you will:
Gain an understanding of what triggers your teen’s anxiety
Develop skills that you can use to assist your teen in calming down when stressed or anxious
Learn preventative measures you can take to help your teen from becoming anxious

To register for this workshop, please call 408.389.3538 or sign up on our website.

Group Therapy: Connect With Other Teens And Get Peer Support!

Teen Therapy Center is excited to offer several teen therapy groups! Group therapy helps teens give and receive support while learning from one another and their therapist by discussing the issues they have in common. Visit our website to learn more each of the following groups.
  • DBT Skills Group
    • Co-Ed High School Group
    • Comprised of 4 four-week modules
    • Teen groups on Tuesdays and Thursdays @ 5:30 PM
    • Parent groups every other Saturday @ 9:00 AM
  • DBT Lite
    • Co-Ed High School Group
    • Tuesdays @ 7:00 PM
  • Destress: The Anti-Anxiety Group
    • High School Girls Group
    • Thursdays @ 7:00 PM
  • Self-Esteem & Body Image
    • High School Girls Group
    • Tuesdays @ 4:00 PM
  • Friendships & Self-Esteem
    • High School Girls Group
    • Wednesdays @ 7:00 PM
  • Girl Power: Self-Esteem Group
    • Middle School Girls Group
    • Sundays @ 6:00 PM
  • Boys to Men: Self-Confidence, Independence & Responsibility
    • High School Boys Group
    • Thursdays @ 7:00 PM
  • Friendships, Anxiety & Social Skills
    • Middle School Boys Group
    • Thursdays @ 5:30 PM
  • P.R.I.D.E. Support Group
    • All Genders High School Group
    • Sundays @ 6:00 PM
  • Anxiety, Depression, and Self-Harm
    • Co-Ed Ages 14-19
    • Sundays @ 7:30 PM
  • Young Adults Managing Anxiety & Depression
    • Co-Ed Ages 18+
    • Mondays @ 8:30 PM
To sign up or learn more about our teen groups,
please contact us at 408.389.3538.

Resource Center

Wired To Create: Lessons in Unlocking Ingenuity
Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD

Tuesday, January 24 at 7:00 PM at Woodside Elementary School
Wednesday, January 25 at 9:00 AM at Yavneh Day School

Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, psychologist and author of Wired to Create and Ungifted, is scientific director of the Imagination Institute, a research center dedicated to the measurement and growth of imagination across all sectors of society. Dr. Kaufman’s work combines neuroscience and psychology to explain creativity and to show scientifically that every individual has unique creative talents that can be unlocked and developed. He offers strategies to parents to cultivate flexible thinking in childhood, and encourages educators to adopt holistic evaluations that recognize that a fast-changing world can accommodate many paths to achievement. Dr. Kaufman also teaches and conducts research in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Community Education Night: IEP 101 with David Tollner
Wednesday, January 25 at 6:30 PM
Fusion Los Gatos
50 University Ave., Suite A300, Los Gatos, CA 95030

This educational evening is a chance for parents and community members to discuss the hot topics surrounding Individual Education Plans and 504s in a casual setting. Special education attorney, David Tollner will not only clarify the rights families have to support for a special needs child, but will educate attendees on various routes to take as they seek additional resources at various stages in the process. This is an excellent opportunity to have your legal questions addressed as they pertain to both public and private school settings.
Parenting in the Digital Age: A Fact Not Fear Approach
Yalda Uhls, PhD & Laura Kastner, PhD
Tuesday, March 7 at 9:00 AM, Harker Middle School
Tuesday, March 7 at 7:00 PM, Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton

Yalda Uhls, PhD helps concerned parents separate hype from reality in guiding kids through childhood in an online 21st century. Dr. Uhls, the author of Media Moms & Digital Dads, and a consultant to Common Sense Media, spent 15 years as a content developer and film executive at studios including MGM and Sony before earning a doctorate in psychology from UCLA where she researched the impact of media on children. She brings her dual knowledge of entertainment media and academic research to her understanding of the current digital environment to help parents navigate safe and healthy child-rearing in a networked world.

Laura Kastner, PhD is a clinical psychologist and a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington. Dr. Kastner expertly clarifies the challenges children and teens experience that come with growing up in a 24/7 connected environment. Dr. Kastner has co-authored five books covering all stages of child development and addressing the strategic parenting required at each stage in today’s technology-dominant world. She has received the Distinguished Psychologist Award from Washington State Psychological Association and been named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors.
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Teen Therapy Center provides individual teen therapy, family therapy, group therapy, parent support counseling, and in-home teen and family coaching 7 days a week, including afternoons, evenings, and weekends. For more information, contact us at 408.389.3538 or
Copyright © 2017 Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, All rights reserved.

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Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley
246 Union Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95032

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