Adolescent Counseling

Many adolescents today have problems and are getting into trouble. After all, there are a lot of pressures for kids to deal with among friends and family. For some youth, pressures include poverty, violence, parental problems, and gangs. Kids may also be concerned about significant issues such as religion, gender roles, values, or ethnicity. Some children are having difficulty dealing with past traumas they have experienced, like abuse. Parents and their teenagers are struggling between the youth’s wanting independence while still needing parental guidance. Sometimes all these conflicts result in behavior problems.

Any number of isolated behavior problems can represent adolescent problems and delinquency-shoplifting, truancy, a fight in school, drug or alcohol ingestion. Sometimes, kids can’t easily explain why they act the way they do. They may be just as confused about it as the adults, or they simply see delinquent behaviors as appropriate ways to deal with what they experience. Parents and loved ones may feel scared, angry, frustrated, or hopeless. They may feel guilty and wonder where they went wrong. All these feelings are normal, but it is important to understand that there is help available to troubled kids and their families.
How do you know when to seek help?
What are the signs of trouble?

Many adolescents get into trouble sometimes.
A big question for parents (whether they be “traditional,” single, step, or grand-parents), though, is how to know when a youth is headed for more serious problems, or when bad behavior is just “a kid being a kid.”
Try to focus on patterns rather than an isolated event.
In other words, does the behavior happen repeatedly despite efforts to change it?
The patterns signaling the need for help include not only deviant behaviors by the adolescent, but also the presence of other problems in the family or tensions at home. For example, problems in the parents’ marriage or frequent fighting or hostility among the family members can also be involved in the youth’s behavior problems. The problem behaviors and other family issues can interact and feed off each other, so that it is hard to tell where it started.

Of course, there are also some obvious signs that indicate the need for immediate and effective intervention, including violence against other persons or animals, or when peers are involved in destructive processes (crime, truancy, drugs). Or, a parent may simply have an instinctive feeling that something serious is happening. An important first step to find out what is going on is to try to talk to the adolescent and other family members about what is happening, possible reasons, and potential solutions. Others who know the adolescent and family, like teachers or caregivers, may also be able to provide information about the youth’s mood or behaviors outside of the home to help assess the severity of the problem.

Many factors put youth and families at risk for juvenile delinquency, though they do not necessarily cause delinquency. Such factors include youth attention and hyperactivity problems and learning disorders, volatile temperament, and even the early onset of puberty and sexual development. All these factors affect the way an adolescent feels and acts and also how peers, family, and society view the adolescent. Similarly, parental problems, such as depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence can interact negatively with a youth’s developing path of delinquency. Rather than causing delinquency, factors such as these tend to place youth at increased risk, intensify the downward spiral, and in turn add to the difficulty in changing these processes for the better.
What kinds of treatments will work?

Once you have determined that you and your loved ones need help, there are many kinds of treatment that you should explore. First, there are popular group-based, residential, and “life-experiential” options, like survival camps, boot camps, and “scared straight” programs, which have had some limited success. Research indicates that the most effective treatments, even with very difficult youth, are programs and treatments that are family-based and multisystemic. That means treatment that involves the adolescent and his or her family, and that also addresses other aspects of their lives, such as the school system, the neighborhood, peers, juvenile justice system, and even employers. In other words, it is treatment that focuses on all the parts of the youth’s life that shape how he or she views the world, emphasizing family and parental support.

Treatments that focus on the family can also be useful in helping adults develop their parenting skills, deal with stress, and work on marital relationships. Many parent aids have demonstrated promising positive results. Professionals, such as family therapists, are there to help the adolescent and family gain understanding of the relationship dynamics and background issues that may be influencing the problem, and come up with solutions.
The text for this brochure was written by James Alexander, Ph.D.

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Jason Martin USA
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15:51 17 May 19
Tammy has been most helpful. This is my first experience with a professional Councillor / Therapist. I'm already feeling better and still have a long journey ahead, With the help of Tammy I see a brighter future for me going forward. Kind consideration and dignity are only a few of the attributes Tammy has shown. Unfortunately for me I've had to relocate back to the UK, had I been fortunate enough to stay in California I would have continued the therapy sessions with Tammy. I very much doubt the road to mental health is something we can go alone, so please seek professional help from someone as qualified as Tammy
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18:53 16 May 19
Tammy is an exceptional therapist and I highly recommend her for any issues ranging from personal development to marriage counseling. Tammy is kind, very intelligent, understanding, and offers people great solutions to life's problems!
Jaclyn Schlanger
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18:03 27 Apr 19
Tammy is one of the most compassionate and caring people I have ever met. She is both professional and personable.  From the moment I met her, her warmth shone through andI could tell how dedicated she is to her clients.  I would recommend her to everyone I know for couples counseling, as her EFT base strategic completely align with the person she is.  She utilizes her intelligence and empathy  to help her clients navigate difficult situations, and her work is truly profound.  I would rate her 5 stars if I could!  One more thing:  her office is beautiful.  The colors and decor are so calming.  Its the perfect place to go to for a therapy session.  Tammy is the best!
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00:23 25 Apr 19
At the first and only visit, she told my boyfriend and me that she didn't see why we were together, so he broke up with me. I expected to receive help in learning communication skills for us to determine for ourselves, not to see someone who thinks she the Oracle.
22:47 12 Nov 18
I saw Tammy for a few months and she showed me nothing but compassion and empathy while helping me dissect a couple of childhood issues. Including with my therapy she recommended a couple of really good self-help books that I can use the rest of my life. I will continue to see Tammy and recommend her to anyone who needs guidance for looking into any irrational behavior or stuck trauma. She’s one of the best if not the best therapist I’ve ever been to and I mean that with great sincerity. Thank you Tammy for all your guidance!
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