You and I can explore:
• Finding voice.
• How to be independent and still be part of your family.
• How to deal with leaving home, going to school, changing friends, among other changes.
• Dealing with uncertainty.
• Dealing with the feelings or reactions (like anxiety, depression, self-esteem or confidence, etc.) from the themes listed above.
What happens in the first meeting is the same as for any client but confidentiality is different for you. Here’s how:
1. If you are under 16, your parent or guardian has the right, by law, to all the information we discuss.
BUT, as part of that first meeting, I let your parent or guardian know that you won’t tell me ANYTHING if you think I’m just turning around and telling them. So, we negotiate what things are to tell and what aren’t. Just so you know though, anything about hurting yourself or someone else, I have to tell them.
Then, we’ll talk about the game “Telephone”. You know, where you whisper a phrase to someone next to you and by the time it gets to the last person, it’s messed up? Well, I hate that game when it comes to therapy. So, I’ll recommend you share stuff from therapy (like strategies or what you’re feeling) directly with your parent or guardian so I don’t mess it up. I’ll be there to support you with it if needed, but it has to come from you.
I also suggest we meet with your parents once in a while to discuss what we’re working on. Not details, just strategies. C’mon. They worry. And you know how parents get when they worry…
2. If you are 16 and over, I have to determine if you are something called a “mature minor”. Basically, I have to answer questions like are you clear about your values and beliefs, can you understand what therapy is going to be about and the consequences of it, do you have some freedom to make decisions on your own, etc.
Usually, at 16, you’ll be treated as an adult. I wouldn’t be able to tell your parents ANYTHING without your consent. That means responsibility for your therapy is yours completely.
BUT, I still recommend you give your parents a break and fill them in once in a while. AND, if you tell me you might do some serious harm to yourself or someone else, I have to tell. It’s the same for all my clients.
Other than those differences, therapy is the same. We talk, we use strategies, we learn about what it means to be you.