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Lighting the Spark in Teen Clients

Ron Taffel on How to Connect with Resistant Teens

When you sit down with a young client, should you set your own immediate reactions and personal opinions aside? Not if you hope to make real progress, says Ron Taffel, author of Breaking Through to Teens. According to Ron, therapists can only really connect with a young client when they stop fearing that revealing themselves will weaken their credibility. Today’s kids look for engagement and authenticity. Now, more than ever, he argues, the impersonality of method-driven therapy just doesn’t cut it.

In this brief video clip, Ron talks about the phenomenon of “double bookkeeping,” saying that while many therapists appear to be very businesslike on the surface and seem to avoid giving their opinions, they tend to be warmer and more engaging when they actually sit down with clients. “I’m trying to push therapy in that direction,” he says. “We’re told not to be ourselves in the room in the service of trying to create a powerful relationship.” But by being less guarded and more spontaneous in therapy, he argues, sessions are more memorable, we’re more likely to be trusted, and young clients are more likely to remember what we say and follow through after our sessions.

In the Networker Webcast series A New Road Map for Working with Kids and Teens, Ron talks about how to let go of the method-driven therapy from your grad school days and make big strides with clients by creating a therapeutic atmosphere that young clients will value rather than resist. “We need something more powerful than what we were trained to do,” says Ron. “Put the relationship in the center of your work, and you and your client will treasure it.”

A New Road Map for Working With Kids and Teens:
Getting Through to Today’s Distracted Youth

Get course details here.

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