LGBTQ+ Teen Therapy
If you're reading this you're either a teenager or the parent of a teenager, and you might have a lot of questions about how therapy works for those aged 12-17. I will answer some common questions here.
Does my teenager need therapy?
That depends. If they have received a diagnosis or a recommendation from a mental health professional or primary care doctor, that's a good sign that they could benefit from it. Other reasons to try therapy could include: exploring sexual or gender identity, feeling depressed or anxious, being bullied, struggling to maintain friendships, frequently getting in trouble at school, experiencing trauma, abuse or family disruption.
What if my teenager doesn't want therapy?
Sitting down to talk about their feelings for an hour is not most teens' idea of a good time, but it's best to make therapy a collaborative decision if possible. It may be helpful to talk
about how therapy can be a place to share their thoughts without fear of judgment or getting in trouble. Plus, therapy doesn't need to be all feelings, all the time. We can talk about pets, hobbies, music- anything your teen is excited about! Studies show that a strong relationship between therapist and client is the critical factor in good therapeutic outcomes, so the actual content of the session can be tailored to the needs of your teen.
How does confidentiality work for teenagers in therapy?
When it comes to medical records, adolescents age 12 and above have the same right to confidentiality as adults; this means that unless the therapist suspects abuse or self-harm, your teen must sign a release for anyone (including you) to view them. This does not mean however that you will be totally uninvolved in treatment. I use my clinical judgment to balance your child's need for privacy with your need to keep them safe, and you are always free to contact me with your questions or concerns.
How can LGBTQ+ teens specifically benefit from therapy?
Due to stigma and discrimination, queer teens are more likely than their peers to experience mental health issues. For instance, according to the Trevor Project, lesbian, gay and bisexual teens are 1.75x more likely than straight teens to experience anxiety and depression; trans and nonbinary youth are 2.4x more likely. These health disparities can be corrected through therapy that focuses on acknowledging systemic stressors, providing tools to manage these stressors and affirming a teen's developing sense of self.