Individual therapy typically consists of weekly or bi-weekly 50 minute therapy sessions.
A therapy session usually starts with setting an agenda of important issues that the client wishes to discuss. I keep track of the time so we can get to everything that the client wishes to cover and we work together to be sure to give ample time to the most important topics. As we discuss ongoing issues or stressors, I offer strategies that might be helpful. I try to teach at least one new strategy or skill in each session or offer a refresher of a strategy that was discussed previously. At the close of the session, we review the issues discussed and talk about how the new skills can be practiced and implemented over the next week. We spend time thinking about potential issues that could cause difficulty over the next week and talk about ways to problem solve or cope with these. At the very end of the session, I ask the client for feedback. It is important to have information about what was most useful over the course of the session so I can better tailor treatment to each individual.
When working with an adolescent, it is often helpful to include other family members in the therapeutic process. Parents are always kept informed about progress and included when issues related to safety are involved. However, the extent to which parents or other family members will participate in the weekly therapy sessions depends on the individual client. We typically make a plan regarding parent and family involvement at the beginning of our work together with the idea that we can always increase or decrease family involvement as the patient grows and develops.