VIDEO: Dan Siegel on Engaging Teen Clients

They're More Interested in Brain Science Than You Think

Dan Siegel knows that nobody—especially an angst-filled teenager—likes being told what to do. That’s why he takes a more roundabout approach to connect with younger clients. He claims the first thing you should ask is “Would you like to know more about your brain?”

By taking the emphasis off of “talking about feelings” and placing it on science, Dan creates a space that can lead to action-oriented solutions and positive growth. See how it’s done.

As Siegel notes, blending the disciplines of brain science and mindfulness had a profound effect on his clients. Introducing this blend is a unique way of piquing your young clients’ curiosity, bolstering the therapeutic alliance, and helping them regain control in an increasingly anxiety-ridden stage of life.

“Teaching mindfulness has taken on a new dimension with my patients,” Siegel says in his Networker article. “There’s a sense of a central ‘hub’ within my mind that holds more of the moment of being between us… The simplicity of attuning to our breath, to ourselves, perhaps permits us to gain access to a deeper self that’s the common ground that we can share.”


Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.

Dan Siegel

Longtime Psychotherapy Networker contributor Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, founding co-director of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, founding co-investigator at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain and Development, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions, and communities. Dr. Siegel’s psychotherapy practice spans thirty years, and he has published extensively for the professional audience. He serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which includes over 70 textbooks.