Half Day Workshops

Many teens hate counseling, presenting as unwilling, oppositional, or completely resistant. If that isn’t enough, most therapists have little to no training or experience working with teens. Instead, we treat teen clients like big kids or little adults – and then wonder why they seem apathetic, ambivalent, or simply stuck.

These three-hour workshops explore practical strategies for transforming therapy with teen clients, field tested approaches for building therapeutic alliance, and deeper dives into important, challenging topics.

Descriptions can be found below. These workshops are typically scheduled 9:00am to 12:15pm, with one fifteen minute break, for a total of 3 clock hours of training.  For more details or to schedule a presentation, contact me today.

Building therapeutic alliance can seem daunting to many clinicians, especially when working with resistant teens. However, studies show effective alliances are absolutely essential for engagement, retention, and positive outcomes. We’ll start this workshop by exploring the importance of developing effective alliances and identifying common reasons teens can be resistant to treatment. Then, we’ll develop practical skills for overcoming those obstacles by increasing our trustworthiness, nurturing connectedness, and embodying empathy. Along the way, we’ll explore the role of self-disclosure, field-tested strategies for engaging teens with insecure attachment styles, and more.

Change is a process, not an event. Many teens enter counseling with little commitment to this process. Our goal is to help them find their own motivation to consider change and start moving forward. We’ll start this highly interactive workshop by examining core ideas from Motivational Interviewing and the Stages of Change model – two evidence-based approaches to facilitating lasting change. Then we’ll explore stage-specific interventions, strategies for integrating change-talk into sessions, and field-tested ideas for resolving ambivalence. Along the way, we’ll examine developmental considerations, common obstacles to change, and more.

Many teens hate therapy – presenting as resistant, oppositional, or simply apathetic. The truth, however, is much less pessimistic. They’re stuck! We’ll start this workshop by exploring common sources of this stuckness, ways it exacerbates other problems, and ideas for helping teens move forward. Next, we’ll consider what happens when developmental tasks aren’t completed. This includes three important concepts common among stuck teens – developmental debt, maladaptive task completion, and stalled identity formation. Along the way, we’ll explore variety of field-tested strategies for helping these teens get unstuck.

Topics related to imminent danger can be confusing, complicated, and frustrating – even for experienced therapists. This is especially when working with teens. We’re required to follow state laws regarding confidentiality, treatment consent, and mandated reporting while also juggling developmental considerations, parental expectations, and our own clinical comfort zones. In this three-hour workshop, we’ll explore these challenges and other legal, ethical, and clinical issues related to working with teens who engaging in high-risk behaviors.

Nearly half all teens receiving mental health services have a diagnosable substance use disorder. Unfortunately, most mental health counselors have little training or experience when it comes to substance use among teens, so these concerns go overlooked and unaddressed. This workshop helps change this! First, we’ll explore the stages of substance use, diagnostic criteria, and common co-morbid mental health disorders. Next, we’ll consider reasons teens use and the stuckness that can develop. Then, we’ll examine field-tested approaches for addressing substance use in teens, including strategies for addressing substance use, fostering change, and getting unstuck.

Two-thirds of all Americans experience some form of trauma by age 16. If left untreated, this can lead to a variety of emotional, behavioral, and developmental concerns – leading to increased mental health challenges, substance-related issues, and other concerns. In this workshop, we’ll deepen our understanding of the ways that trauma impacts teens, identify the active ingredients for successful trauma therapy, and explore clinical strategies for treating trauma in teens. Inspired by motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, and trauma-informed approaches, these strategies will increase engagement, improve treatment outcomes, and help teens move forward.