HOW TO BE AN AMAZING TEEN COUNSELOR
Cascadia Training’s NEW Certificate Program
Join us for this special three-day retreat-style training! You’ll develop skills for engaging even the most resistant teens, explore dozens of field-tested strategies for improving treatment outcomes, and more—while earning 21 continuing education units (including 4CEUs that are ethics-specific) and Cascadia Training’s new Teen Counseling Specialist certificate.
Dates & location announced soon
Few therapists have significant training or experience working with teens. So, not knowing what else to do, we treat teen clients like big kids or little adults—then wonder why they’re unengaged, unwilling, and uninterested. If that weren’t enough, many teens seem to hate therapy—presenting as resistant, oppositional, or worse.
These teens aren’t resistant, though! They just don’t want to talk about their feelings with a stranger, learn shrink-wrapped coping skills, or spend time identifying measurable treatment goals. Who can blame them?
In this highly interactive three-day training, we’ll explore this so-called resistance, examine a variety of useful clinical skills, and take deep dives into a variety of topics essential to being an amazing teen counselor.
DAY ONE: REFRAMING RESISTANCE
If teens aren’t resistant, then why don’t they engage? On Day One, we’ll explore this question from three useful perspectives.
A Developmental Lens. Adolescence is a discreet developmental stage with predictable tasks to complete. We’ll review those tasks, consider ideas for being developmentally savvy therapists, and explore what can happen when these tasks aren’t successfully completed.
An Attachment Lens. Attachment styles impact every therapeutic interaction. That’s why we’ll spend time identifying ways attachment shows up in sessions, strategies for navigating insecure attachment styles in teens, and how our attachment styles matter, too.
A Trauma Lens. We’ll deepen our understanding of trauma, including common impacts of untreated trauma exposure, the differences between trauma-informed and trauma-specific therapy, and the four active ingredients of all good trauma therapy.
Dinner is on your own, but save room for dessert, because afterward we’ll gather for Dessert & Discussion: Understanding the Guy Code. We’ll share dessert while exploring ways that adolescent males are socialized to ignore feelings, how this impacts counseling, and practical strategies for overcoming the Guy Code.
DAY TWO: THREE CLINICAL SKILLS
An amazing teen counselor has developmentally appropriate clinical skills for cultivating rapport, facilitating change, and challenging stuckness. On Day Two, we’ll build those skills.
Cultivate Rapport. Building therapeutic alliance can seem daunting to many clinicians, especially when meeting with teens. However, studies show effective alliances are essential for engagement, retention, and positive outcomes. With that in mind, we’ll explore practical skills for increasing our trustworthiness, creating connectedness, and embodying empathy. We’ll also explore the role of self-disclosure, strategies for engaging teens with insecure attachment styles, and more.
Facilitate Change. Reluctant teens rarely want to make changes. Our goal is to help them find their own motivation to consider change and start moving forward. With this in mind, we’ll explore ideas from Motivational Interviewing and the Stages of Change model—two evidence-based approaches for facilitating meaningful change. Then we’ll examine stage-specific interventions, strategies for integrating change-talk into sessions, and practical ideas for resolving ambivalence.
Challenge Stuckness. Some teen clients are stuck in endless cycles of ineffective behaviors and thinking, experiencing multiple treatment failures, and frustrating even the most dedicated professional helpers. Even though they’re typically aware of their stuckness, these teens seeming unable or unwilling to do anything differently. We’ll identify common sources of this stuckness, consider the existential themes related to being stuck, and examine practical ideas for helping teens get unstuck.
Following dinner on your own, we’ll gather for Discussion & Dessert: Imminent Danger, where we’ll share dessert while exploring ethical and legal challenges related to working with teens who report suicidality, self-harm, and other forms of danger to self or others.
DAY THREE: MINDFULNESS MATTERS
Mindfulness can be extremely helpful to those challenged by depression, anxiety, substance related problems, and other mental health concerns. However, the abstract nature of mindfulness makes it challenging to teach in ways that translate into the daily lives of teens. Day Three focuses on ways to present mindfulness that are concrete, accessible, and provide obvious value.
Foster Mindfulness. We’ll deepen our understanding of mindfulness, develop practical skills for integrating mindfulness into both individual and group sessions, and engage in several activities that help make mindfulness concrete, accessible, and effective when working with teens. We’ll also consider the clinical importance of using trauma-informed approaches to teaching mindfulness in all clinical settings.
Nurture Thoughtful Choices. Most teens in clinical settings have a difficult time making thoughtful, effective choices. Maybe this shows up as impulsivity, poor decision making, self-destructive behavior, or a variety of other ways. Mindfulness helps these teens develop metacognition skills that allows them to slow down, take time to think, and ultimately get what they need without making things worse.
Packed with inspiration, practical interventions, and field-tested strategies, this three-day training is sure to help you be a truly amazing teen counselor. Past attendees to David’s trainings have called his presentations “the most fun I’ve ever had at a continuing education training” and “a smorgasbord of ideas for helping teens move forward.” Come find out why!
Attendees can expect to:
- Identify relevant developmental considerations and attachment-related challenges when working with teen clients.
- Explore ethical and legal challenges related to working with teen clients, including informed consent, confidentiality, and self-disclosure.
- Examine the impact of trauma on treatment resistance among teens, as well as ethically appropriate strategies for managing these impacts.
- Develop practical clinical skills for cultivating therapeutic rapport, demonstrating trustworthiness, embodying true empathy, overcoming ambivalence, and addressing client stuckness.
- Identify relevant ethical and legal considerations when working with teens reporting high-risk behaviors.
- Explore clinical applications of mindfulness with teens, including ethical considerations and the use of trauma-informed mindfulness.
- Engage in several field-tested, developmentally appropriate mindfulness exercises.
- Examine practical strategies for helping teen clients make more thoughtful, effective choices.
- Reflect on the role of “you-the-therapist” in creating transformative clinical interactions.