Child and Adolescent Counseling Services, Tokyo Japan

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Therapy with Adolescents

Therapy with adolescents is similar to that of adults but not quite the same. Adolescents are in a developmental phase where they are striving very hard to become separate and independent from their parents, however, they actually still very much have deep attachment needs to their parents and this may lead to conflict. They may go overboard in their attempts to achieve independence, i.e., the so-called "rebellious phase", and they may also engage in unhealthy romantic relationships because of their desire to maintain dependency needs in the face of separation from the closeness with their parents that they knew just a few years earlier as young children.


A central theme for adolecents is that they often make maladaptive psychological and behavioral defenses against certain core issues like feeling inadequate or unloved (ie. trying too hard to get noticed by others or getting into unhealthy romantic relations) that can then lead to trouble for the adolescent. Understanding and re-working these defenses and how they lead to trouble, as well as minimizing the effects of one's core issues is a very useful tool in therapy. A detailed description of this approach can be found here: Core Issue-Defense Paradigm. Adolescence is also the time when the first episodes of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, and substance abuse appear, and it is important to intervene as eary as possible in the course of these problems.


Please also refer to this page: Approach To Treating The Adolescent for further information on issues in treating adolescents.