How To Be An Amazing Teen Counselor

A Special Two-Day Training for Therapists

Join us for this special two-day training, where you’ll develop skills to engage even the most resistant teens, facilitate transformative change, and explore dozens of strategies for improving treatment outcomes—all while earning 14 continuing education units!

OCTOBER 12 & 13, 2023
Thursday, October 12, 2023 • 9:00am to 5:30pm
Friday, October 13 • 9:00am to 5:30pm
Registration coming soon!

Few therapists have significant training or experience working specifically with teens. So, not knowing what else to do, we treat our 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?

If teens aren’t resistant, then why don’t they engage? We’ll start Day One, by exploring this question from three helpful perspectives:

A Developmental Frame. 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 Frame. 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 teen clients, and how our attachment styles matter, too.

A Trauma Frame. We’ll deepen our understanding of trauma, including common impacts of untreated trauma exposure, the differences between trauma-informed and trauma-specific approaches, and the four active ingredients of all good trauma therapy.

With some teens, addressing these developmental, attachment, and trauma-related challenges is all takes to transform the therapy process. Other teens, though, seem stuck in endless cycles of maladaptive behaviors, experiencing multiple treatment failures and frustrating even the most dedicated professional helpers. We’ll end Day One by identifying common sources of this stuckness and exploring field-tested strategies for helping teens get unstuck.

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. That’s why we’ll explore practical skills for increasing our trustworthiness, creating connectedness, and embodying empathy. Along the way, we’ll consider 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. We’ll also explore stage-specific interventions, strategies for integrating change-talk into sessions, and practical ideas for resolving ambivalence.

Widen Windows. When in our window of tolerance, we fee mastery over our emotions and behaviors, interact effectively with the world, and related well to self and others. If outside our window, we become emotionally and behaviorally dysregulated. We’ll end Day Two by deepening our understanding of this useful concept. Then, we’ll explore practical strategies for helping teens increase emotion regulation, including field-tested skills related to metacognition, being present, and trauma-informed mindfulness.

Inspired by two decades of clinical experience with teens, presenter and therapist David Flack is excited to offer this inspiring mash-up of motivational interviewing, attachment theory, trauma-informed approaches, and field-tested strategies. Past attendees have called David’s trainings, “The most fun I’ve ever had at a continuing education training” and “An engaging smorgasbord of useful ideas.” Come find out why!

Attendees can expect to:

  • Identify relevant developmental considerations when working with teen clients.
  • Consider ways trauma exposure and attachment wounds contribute to treatment resistance among teens.
  • Develop practical clinical skills for cultivating therapeutic rapport, demonstrating trustworthiness, and embodying true empathy.
  • Explore developmentally appropriate strategies for overcoming ambivalence and increasing willingness to change.
  • Examine field-tested strategies for helping teens develop skills for effective emotional regulation.
  • Reflect on the role of “you-the-therapist” in creating transformative clinical interactions.