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    During adolescence, relationships with peers take center stage and concerns about identity dominate. This time can be very challenging for parents as it requires a balance between continuing to provide direction and allowing greater opportunities for independence. It can also be a distressing time for young people. Some common mental health concerns for teens include:

    1. Depression: sad/irritable mood, hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of interest in activities, low energy, eating and sleeping problems, isolating from others, thinking about suicide, self-harm
    2. Anxiety: excessive worry, fear, panic, self-consciousness paired with avoidance of situations that cause distress
    3. Rule-Breaking: school conflict, violating curfew, leaving home without permission, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, risk-taking
    4. Traumatic Stress: distressing thoughts, feelings, and behavior in response to recent or childhood traumatic experiences


    Who am I? Identity formation is the central task of adolescence. Navigating this developmental milestone may present unique challenges for youth of color and LGBTQ youth, especially for those living in hostile environments. Without enthusiastic support, freedom of expression, and developmentally-sensitive caregiving, the process of identity formation can be further compromised by mental health struggles.


    My work with teens often focuses on helping them develop skills in these areas:

    1. Self-Care: creating healthy daily routines that promote balance and wellness
    2. Safe Coping: building diverse strategies for accepting, modulating, and expressing emotional experience
    3. Competency: honing problem solving, planning, organization, and self-efficacy
    4. Identity Exploration: leaning in to different aspects of self and clarifying belief systems, values and goals
    5. Meaning-Making: placing distressing life events in context, identifying activities and ways of thinking that foster understanding, healing, and growth