Adolescent and Family Therapy

Are you seeking an adolescent psychologist for your teenager?

Do you worry about your adolescent’s development or mood?

  • Do they avoid things that are considered normal for their age?
  • Does stress, anxiety or depression affect their ability to cope?
  • Are you noticing unusual habits or behaviours that concern you?
  • Is there a concern in how your family is communicating?

The process is simple and easy

1 Free consultation

On calling us, we make the process simple and easy for you. Our experienced Intake Counsellor will chat with you for up to 15 minutes free of charge.

2 Choice of therapist

The Intake Counsellor will listen and answer all your questions. This will help you make a well-informed decision about who is most suited for your adolescent.

3 Flexible hours and fees

Choose a time that suits your family, including after hours. We offer generous concessions if there are financial difficulties.

Counselling can help you and your adolescent

Choose from our team of adolescent psychologists

Medicare and private health rebates may be available.
Concessions and bulk billing may be available. Please enquire.


Click a calendar to book.

Don Coles

Mental Health Social Worker, Clinical Supervisor
(Don’s training and rebates are equivalent to psychologists.)

19Master of Social Work
$175 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Elize Olivier

Registered Psychologist, Clinical Supervisor
Worked extensively as an adolescent psychologist.

19Master of Psychology
$175 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Lynley Yeo

Registered Psychologist
Conducts IQ and adaptive assessments.

19Master of Psychology
$175 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
May Shum

Registered Psychologist

19 Bachelor of Psychology
$175 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Amy Stubbs

Registered Psychologist

19Bachelor of Psychology
$175 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Rochelle Dawson

Clinical Registered Counsellor
School Counsellor.

Master of Counselling
$130 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Delinda Lau

On maternity leave

Master of Counselling
$90 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444
Enid Choong

Student Intern Counsellor

Master of Counselling (Cand)
$0 per session
Bridges Counselling Sydney (02) 9683 1444

Why adolescent counselling?

Why seek counselling for my adolescent?

The high school years present an entirely new set of goals and issues for development. During this time the adolescent brain is undergoing a transformation. There are changes and growth in structure and chemistry. This can lead to some difficult years which young people need support to navigate.

The decision to attend counselling is a big step for a teenager

There are concerns about what it means to need help, and the stigma associated. A large percentage of teenagers need help with something during these important years.

What is changing in a teenager’s world?

They are experiencing the season of intense changes:

  • hormonal changes
  • physical changes
  • brain changes
  • friends change in this time
  • study demands increase
  • attraction and relationships begin to happen
  • sexuality is developing
  • worry about performance and careers emerge
  • parents may divorce in these years
  • grandparents may pass away in these years

 

The biggest changes are in the prefrontal cortex and endocrine system:

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for:

  • moral thoughts
  • decision making
  • social behaviour
  • problem solving

The endocrine system is responsible for:

  • increased levels of sex hormones; testosterone and oestrogen
  • increased adrenaline
  • changes in physiology
  • changes in brain chemistry and structure
  • increased levels of sleep hormones

How do these changes affect adolescents?

During this development, they can make impulsive decisions. These decisions can have negative affects on their relationships, safety and well-being. At the same time, their social and educational settings are expanding. The demands they find imposed on them can lead to stress and emotional reactions. These are some tough years to face

Serious mental health issues can develop at this time

Between the ages of 16-25 is when the more debilitating mental health issues begin to show. Some teenagers may find themselves in the throes of a depressive disorder such as Bipolar Disorder. Or they may have an early onset of psychosis where they have an episode of delusions or paranoia. This can be a scary time, and could be made worse by drug and alcohol use.

Common issues teenagers seek counselling for:

  • social anxiety
  • school issues
  • performance anxiety in relation to grades
  • social issues such as bullying
  • relationship issues
  • developing social identity
  • peer pressure
  • developing communication skills
  • developing problem solving skills
  • anger management strategies

Teenagers need help finding positive coping skills.

With all these changes, they might adopt unhelpful coping skills:

  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • risk taking behaviours
  • sexualised behaviour
  • withdrawing
  • sleeping a lot

Therapy for adolescents can help to overcome these issues before they become patterns in their lives.

Conditions we offer support for

Our adolescent counsellors and psychologists can offer support for the following issues:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • anxiety disorders
  • assertiveness training
  • behavioural issues
  • Conduct Disorder
  • depression disorders
  • developmental difficulties
  • discipline issues
  • eating disorders
  • learning difficulties
  • life skills development
  • Opposition Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • self-harm
  • social difficulties
  • specific learning difficulties such as reading difficulties

Why family therapy?

The above mentioned issues may be dealt with in an individual, one on one modality. Or they may be best treated using a family therapy model. This is where other members of the family may take part in the sessions.

Family therapy sessions focus on:

  • relationship building
  • attachment building
  • routine setting
  • improving communication
  • educating family members

Our adolescent psychologists and counsellors may invite:

  • the whole family to sessions
  • the individual’s siblings
  • a parent
  • both parents
  • a step parent
  • or a combination of the above

The child or young person will be allowed to have a say in who participates in the family therapy session.

Family therapy covers a range of issues

  • anger management
  • separation and divorce, and the impact on family members
  • building better relationships
  • child protection
  • communication issues
  • conflict resolution
  • decision making and negotiation
  • emotional abuse
  • extended family and boundaries
  • family mediation
  • family court & legal reporting issues
  • parenting plans

Family therapy enables family members to:

  • express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions
  • understand each other’s experiences and views
  • appreciate each other’s needs, and build on strengths
  • make useful changes in their relationships and their lives

Adolescence is like having only enough light to see the step directly in front of you. ― Sarah Addison Allen

Common questions about adolescent and family therapy

Does my teenager need therapy?

There is a resounding question for parents of teenagers. That question is: “Is what I’m worried about a ‘normal’ teenage thing? Will the grow out of this? Is this a worry?”.

As a general rule, the question you can ask is: “Is the issue I’m concerned about having an impact on their life? their ability to perform? or their mental health?”.

If so, it is a good idea to have a check in with your doctor, or one of our adolescent therapists.

How long does therapy take?

This is dependant on the nature of the referring issue. All appointments are usually an hour long. Some family therapy sessions can go for a longer time such as 1.5 hours or 2 hours per session.

Most situational issues may take up to 6-10 sessions to be resolved. Other issues may feel resolved after 3-6 sessions. For more longer term stress such as HCS year or mood disorders, you may benefit from ongoing sessions. For example, support for for up to a year or more.

Your counsellor will discuss expected timeframes with you.

Is individual therapy or family therapy needed?

The answer to this will depend on the nature of the issues you are seeking help for. These factors are in relation to the following questions:

  • Is this an issue around my teenager’s emotional or developmental needs?
  • Is the issue affecting the whole family or more than one member?
  • Is there relationship or communication factors to consider?
  • Is the adolescent particularly worried, shamed or embarrassed by the issue?
  • Do they value privacy and confidentiality?

These questions will help to determine whether individual therapy is needed or whether family therapy would be more beneficial. Call to discuss this further with our intake counsellor.

What about relationship or marriage counselling?

The challenges of parenting and disciplining a teenager can place a strain on relationships. Couples may find themselves having different opinions about how to manage these challenges. Many couples recognise the importance of being on the same team and setting good examples for their children.

Our marriage counsellors can provide support and help during these stressful times. A strong couple relationship is one of the best gifts that you can give your teenager.