After 36 years of practicing as a Clinical Psychologist and having "treated" a very large number of adolescents over the years, I became particularly concerned about pathologizing many of the so-called "symptoms" displayed by adolescents, when those symptoms, upon deeper exploration, turn out to be relatively normal responses to very stressful, emotionally painful situations or life events that are beyond the coping skills of that individual. At a time in life when identity formation is so critical, such labelling can cause long term or even permanent damage to a young person's emerging identity, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth. I have worked with so many adolescents who just needed an opportunity to be truly "heard", understood and then, educated on how to develop better coping skills to deal with difficult or painful situations in their present or from their past expeiences.
My approach to working with people and especially, adolescents, is to move beyond labels, diagnoses and a one-size-fits-all "treatment' approach to these labels and diagnoses. I have never found labels or diagnoses to be helpful in my attempt to understand and alleviate human suffering. At a time in life when one's '"ego" and sense of self are so fragile, it is even more important to work in a truly holistic way to help alleviate the confusion and even sometimes, the sense quiet desperation and deep suffering that so many adolescents experience as they contemplate the prospect of being an adult in a not very mentally or emotionally healthy world.
I love to work with adolescents and have found that having a truly holistic approach in which they are viewed as a whole person rather than as a diagnostic label, appears to make it easier for them to open up to me,work on, and resolve their issues. I provide a safe, confidential environment in my home-office setting in Gresham, OR. This natural, non-clinical environment, where animals are present (if desired), and where they are able to sense that I am a person who can be trusted, allows them to more quickly and easily discuss their various fears, worries, concerns, negative beliefs or negative feelings about themselves that have developed as a result of traumatic or emotionally painful situations in their lives. Given my many years of professional and overall life-experience, I am able to provide them with the kind of wisdom that comes from a person who has lived through, survived and grown from many difficult physical, emotional, relationship and spiritual life challenges, and come through it all, transformed into someone who has a deeper understanding of life. I certainly wish that I had had such a person to talk with when I was an adolescent. While it is true, that sometimes, the best teacher is life-experience itself, it certainly makes it a lot easier to gain the learnings that are available from life's challenges, if one is able to talk to, and truly be heard and understood by someone who has spent a life pursuing self-knowledge, personal growth and inner wisdom. This is what I will provide to your struggling adolescent.