The Importance of the Therapeutic Relationship in Teen Therapy
Teenagers can smell inauthenticity a mile away! In teen therapy and family counseling, if a teen senses that the teen therapist is not genuine or authentic, they will likely not trust the counseling process. And, rightfully so. It is hard to relate to someone who is not being genuine and authentic.
When looking for a therapist for your teenager, one of the most important things to look for is a genuine, authentic teen therapist and family counselor. This personality trait is the key for your teen and their ability to connect with the therapist.
If your teenager feels accepted and safe, they will be more likely to listen and participate. They will also be more likely to open up to the therapist and work on their teen depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, or other struggles that bring them to therapy.
The Therapeutic Alliance
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the therapeutic alliance refers to the relationship that is established between the therapist and the client. It is a bond of trust, safety, and non-judgment shared by the client and the therapist.
The therapeutic alliance, or relationship, is an alliance where two people are collaborating on a shared task or goal. The therapist does not stand above the teen or family, dictating how they should live their life. The therapist stands with the teen and their family, collaborating with them on their goals and and successful progress.
The therapeutic alliance is knowing you can trust the therapist. It is a feeling of safety knowing that information will remain confidential (outside of safety related concerns). It is a place where the teen knows they can be themselves and not be judged for it.
A Model of a Healthy Relationship
Many teenagers are still learning how to form healthy relationships. One of the more important aspects of the therapeutic alliance is that it provides teens a model of a healthy relationship. The therapist listens to and accept the teenager. At the same time, the therapist can still hold them accountable and offer a different perspective.
In a world where teenagers are so used to being ghosted and rejected, the therapeutic alliance provides for them a safe place to open up where they know they won't be rejected. This is a place where the teen can be themselves without the fear of being judged. At the same time, the teenager also learns how to relate to another person with empathy and understanding.
What the Research Suggests
Studies show that the therapeutic alliance is one of the most important factors in successful therapy outcomes. There are many theories, techniques, and approaches a therapist can use to help a teenager navigate emotional or behavioral struggles. We are trained in these approaches and they help teens and families succeed.
Approaches that are supported by research like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be highly effective in treating emotional or behavioral struggles. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is incredibly effective with teens. Neurofeedback has helped most of the teens who have taken that approach in overcoming emotional or behavioral challenges.
Being trained in these specialized approaches is one important element in helping teens and families succeed. Alone they are powerful tools of change. Combine these with a strong therapeutic relationship, and the chances of success increase significantly.
Teens will be more open and receptive to the skills, strategies, and suggestions if they strong, trust based relationship with the therapist. This can only occur when the therapist is authentic, genuine, and demonstrates true care for the teen and their family.
How Long Does it Take to Establish?
Every teenager is different. Some form connections more rapidly than others. But, as a general rule of thumb, it can take anywhere from 4-6 teen therapy sessions for a teen to establish a strong, therapeutic alliance with their therapist.
Teen counseling and family therapy does not have to be a long-term endeavor but it should also not be rushed. While therapy is a significant time and financial commitment, it is well worth the investment!
What to Look For in a Therapist
Before scheduling an appointment for your teenager, schedule a phone call or consultation with the teen therapist and family counselor. Ask questions about how the therapist relates to teenagers. Ask them what they do to build rapport. Explore with the therapist their view of the therapeutic alliance and how important it is for them in working with teens and families.
This is a chance to learn more about the therapist's experience, education and therapeutic approach. And, it is an opportunity get a feel for the therapist's personality. You will have the chance to see for yourself if the therapist will be a good fit for your teen and family. Teens and families usually know if it will be a good fit in that consultation or first therapy session.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling:
Specializing in Teen Therapy & Family Counseling for the Katy, Tx & Houston Area
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we specialize in teen therapy and family counseling. Our therapists have over 30 years of combined experience in providing counseling and therapeutic services. We help teens overcome teen depression, anxiety, panic attacks, ADHD/ADD, trauma/PTSD, and other emotional or behavioral challenges.
If you are looking for a therapist who embodies the qualities of authenticity and sincerity, Katy Teen & Family Counseling can help. If you would like to start your therapeutic journey with or schedule a consultation call or meeting, you can follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling, PLLC
Meet with one of our teen and family therapists
Start the process of restoring hope, happiness, and connected family relationships
Teen Therapy & Family Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide those teen counseling and family therapy approaches that are supported by research. Below are some of the therapeutic services that we offer in Katy, Texas and for the Houston area:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Quique (pronounced key + kay) Autrey was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when he was two years old. He has been working with teens and families since 2008.
In addition to being a private practice therapist, Quique has worked with teens and families as a youth pastor He has also helped neurodiverse teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in a local private school. Quique has continued his work with teens and young adults with ASD in his private practice work.
Quique also enjoys working with couples and families helping to improve communication and relationships.
Quique has a unique ability to naturally connect with teens, families, and couples. He is authentic in his approach and genuine in his desire to help people overcome challenges and become wildly successful and happy in their lives.
If you are ready to start your teen counseling, family therapy, our couples journey, contact us today. We would be happy to schedule a phone call or in person consultation.