Teens & Family Therapy

While the teen years should be a time of building their independence and exploring their world, for many adolescents it is a very stressful and confusing time of life. Counselling can help them to understand and feel good about themselves and engage in healthy exploration and relationships. 

While sometimes it helpful for therapy to be 1:1 with the teen, because they live in a family unit, where possible and appropriate it is also encouraged that therapy for teens takes place with the caregivers as well in the context of family therapy.

Family therapy is a type of group therapy. According to the CMHA, in family therapy the “family” is defined as a “group of people who care about each other and call themselves a family”. By this definition, family can include parents and children as well as other caregivers ranging from step-parents to extended family to adopted and foster parents.

The goal of family therapy is to help all members of the family develop and understanding of each other, a common language, and common ways of supporting each other. Family therapy can be helpful when families are overwhelmed with big emotions such as anger or sadness as well as when they are feeling stuck in patterns of harmful behaviours and conflict. Family therapy is also useful in helping families navigate changes resulting from a variety of life events including illness, trauma, divorce, death, and moving.

Primary Approaches Used

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

While DBT can be used just with the teen, when used as a family unit with the teens and the caregivers, it creates a common language and skill set for future relationship building.

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Emotion Focused Family Therapy

Rooted in the neurobiology of interpersonal connections, EFFT is an ideal approach to equipping caregivers and building their confidence of leading their children through the emotional healing process. At the same time, the approach is brilliant for all interactions with others.

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Emotion Focused Therapy

Rooted in family systems and attachment theories, this approach helps individuals, couples, and families identify their own emotional and attachment needs and communicate these, as well as how to really listen to each other.