VIDEO: Engaging Kids who Hate Therapy

How to Talk to Kids in a Way They Understand

Connecting with today’s youth doesn’t mean being able to recite Justin Bieber’s latest hit. According to Janet Edgette, author of Adolescent Therapy That Really Works, it takes authenticity, perspective, and knowing how to make kids feel like they’re being listened to and respected.

In her 25 years as an adolescent therapist, Janet has seen her fair share of folded arms, rolled eyes, and the occasional stormy exit. In this brief video clip, she offers tips for approaching young clients who are apprehensive about therapy. The secret, she says, is avoiding questions that seem by the book and impersonal—the kneejerk “how does that make you feel?” approach. “Feelings are important,” Janet says, “but I think if we can get to kids directly without asking ‘how do you feel about that?’ we’re going to be more likely to keep the conversation going.”


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.

Janet Sasson Edgette

Janet Sasson Edgette, PsyD, is the author of Adolescent Therapy That Really Works, Stop Negotiating with Your Teen, and The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Dont Play Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood.