I work alongside families through their teens’ years of identity exploration. Our culture begins expecting a person to commit to certain intentions for their life, identities by which we can gauge them by, and standards by which they can be judged. I help families expand their expectations of a teen to allow room for finding themselves in the world, while staying connected to their “tribe”/family.
I meet with teens in city parks, trailheads, and other natural areas. Often this nature-setting feels less formal than traditional “therapy”—wherein a person is expected to sit on a couch and talk for an hour.
The reason this is so popular is because it is congruent with the exploration of our conversation while on-trail, wading in a creek, or working with my therapy dog, Kodiak. Exploring our natural world is the oldest and most practiced way of our species, however, it is more common for us to be indoors and in-front of a screen. Teens report therapy being “fun” in this context, and I find their participation and attendance much improved over office visits.
Young adults are some of my favorite people to engage in therapy. Their exploration of life is often fraught with many new experiences and expectations. Beyond the safety of home, young adults are navigating college structures, new living arrangements, developing friends, and finding the places where they belong—where they feel a sense of ‘home’ while away from the only home they’ve ever known.
Conversations with young adults are particularly energizing for me because their is so much wonder mixed with confusion. They inhabit a life experience not unlike many of our own (older or younger), only just concentrated and exaggerated for the first time in their lives.