CDCW Adolescent Services For Teens Ages 12-18 years


The first session in the treatment of your adolescent is an assessment session. The goal of the session is to get a complete description of your concerns regarding your teen, some background information that includes a family history, and questions regarding other behaviors, emotions or thoughts your CDCW clinician may feel relevant to understanding your child. This usually can provide some preliminary sense of the nature of your teen’s and/or family’s concern(s).

In many instances, due to the complexity of understanding and properly diagnosing adolescents, the assessment will continue beyond the first session. Your clinician will keep you and any referring bodies, such as physicians, informed regarding thoughts and concerns (with your written permission). A more formal assessment may be suggested if questions arise that may require more specific exploration (see Psychological/Neuropsychological Evaluations section below).

Individual Therapy

Even with younger adolescents, having an appropriately trained clinician spend at least some time individually with them will be part of the treatment. This not only allows the clinician to better know and understand your teen, but it also helps your teen see therapy as a special place to communicate openly about any problems in their lives. The younger your teen, the more time likely will be spent with parent(s) and teen(s) together. Please note that individual therapists will proceed in different ways and find success using their preferred approach. Also, different issues may call for varied therapeutic techniques. Feel free to ask questions and express concerns as they arise.

Adolescents often express themselves through art, music and writing. Our clinicians are trained in using various modes of communication with your adolescent. During therapy, teens are encouraged to utilize preferred means of communication to express themselves in order to maximize treatment effectiveness.

Family Therapy

For most adolescents, family time and interactions are significant in their lives. As a result, enhancing the good interactions and minimizing the occurrence of detrimental interactions is essential. This frequently requires meeting with family members together in therapy session to discuss areas of concern and celebrate things that are going well. Often through the individual meetings with your teen, they will learn to more effectively communicate with you, even in times of distress or disagreement.

Group Therapy

Teenagers spend much of their lives in social situations with their peers. If they are comfortable with this, group therapy is a natural therapeutic use of this skill. If your teen struggles with their peers (i.e., not getting along, getting picked on, poor social skills, etc.), group is the perfect forum in which to work on these concerns. We offer many of groups to address a variety of client concerns. Groups are typically 8-weeks but new members are always welcome. Please inquire with us regarding the specifics on groups currently running and visit our Group Therapy page.

Psychological/Neuropsychological Evaluations

Health professionals who work with adolescents realize how difficult it can be to accurately assess and diagnose. Adolescents often have not yet developed the ability to understand and articulate their emotional states as adults do. For example, adolescents frequently will not acknowledge feeling sad or depressed. Instead, they may be irritable, angry or not experience joy and enthusiasm while participating in pleasurable activities. Emotionally, it can be difficult to differentiate between anxiety, sadness, oppositional behavior, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and mania. Psychological evaluations can often aid in sorting out such issues.

The following issues can often be effectively clarified through formal assessment:

  • Academic Achievement
  • Adaptive Behavior
  • ADD/ADHD/Attention Difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Cognitive Functioning
  • Depression
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Emotional Dysregulation
  • Executive Functioning such as planning, problem solving, memory, forethought, etc.

Comprehensive evaluations are most often suggested by physicians (family doctors, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists), mental health professionals and school personnel. However, if you have some questions you feel may benefit from a formal assessment, please ask to speak to one of our clinical psychologists or assessment specialists.