Maxine Gower, LCSW, NCPsyA - Boulder Psychotherapy


Psychotherapy in person, via skype, or by phone. Please email or call (303) 875-5046

Teen Therapy - Adolescent Counseling in Boulder

Adolescence is characterized by the back and forth movement between childhood and adulthood. An adolescent is neither, and feels him or herself to be in some kind of "no man’s land" without a place to comfortably land.  Fluctuations and moodiness are common in this developmental phase. This is also part of what drives adults crazy when interacting with teens. Adolescents are also feeling crazy while struggling with their own fluctuations that are charged by hormonal changes and surges.

Adolescence is also a recapitulation of the earlier stages of life and an integration of earlier developmental milestones. This is usually not accomplished by adolescence.  The teen years are the time to fill in developmental gaps and to strengthen the whole Self in preparation for adulthood. If the ability to do this is missed, the adolescent may move into adulthood with deficits that will make adulthood more difficult. We hear the expressions "Oh grow up!" or "S/he needs to grown up". These are ways we have in our culture of saying that a person is immature and has not grown into an adult. Aspects of their childhood are still present and this does not serve them. It can make them unattractive to others in ways.

Adolescence is also marked by the attempt to understand oneself based on how others respond and react. Teens are trying very hard to find a place and social standing amongst their peers. This can be painfully difficult. Teens can feel very sensitive to the value that others do, or do not, ascribe to them. When there are feelings of being unaccepted, odd or ostracized, it is common for adolescents to feel depressed and anxious or to develop other psychological symptoms such as eating disorders or obsessive compulsive behaviors. When there seems to be nowhere to turn in order to understand what is going on, or how to address the awful and difficult feelings, the situation can worsen and suicidal thoughts can arise.

If we see how teens struggle to find some stability between the poles of childhood and adulthood, it is our responsibility to try and understand them and not take their situation personally. Easier said than done! Both adults and teens need lots of support and ways to vent their exasperation at how difficult this phase can be. Ultimately, as the adults, we can, and must find ways to take care of ourselves and our children. Ways need to be found to support and work skillfully with them.

Psychotherapy/counseling with a qualified professional who can understand and empathize with teens, and, at the same time coax them out of childhood and into early adulthood, is a wise choice. It is hard for parents, because they are so close to the situation, to be the only responsible party for raising their child/children.

"It takes a village to raise a child!" Psychotherapy/counseling has its place in that effort. Knowledge of how to work with anxiety, depression, obsessive/compulsive symptoms and eating disorders etc. is not something that most parents know or should know how to do. That is why a professional, with 21 years of experience, as I have, can make life easier for Boulder teens and their families.

Empathy for Parents

It is my hope that the small amount of information I offer here will make a difference in the lives of parents and their adolescents. Perhaps the information will serve to calm some situations and/or give parents an anchor while riding the adolescent roller-coaster. It may also give a sense of how I view adolescence and a feel for how I work.

First and foremost, please know that the suffering that you feel as a parent has a direct relationship to how much your child is suffering as they transition into adulthood.

Click here to view full article on Empathy for Parents

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