Stress, challenging life events, and difficulty coping can interfere with the lives of children and adolescents. These challenges can impact relationships, school/academic functioning, and identity/self-worth. Therapy can help children and adolescents develop healthy, more effective coping skills and habits through application of scientifically-validated strategies and supports. Therapy with all youth is typically most effective when parents/guardians are involved in the work, though parent participation is essential with children under the age of 10 because caregivers play a critical role in the application and practice of new skills and strategies. Parents/guardians of young children may sometimes be seen without their child to learn research-supported strategies to help with ADHD, behavioral problems, or struggles with emotion regulation. In addition, some degree of collaboration or input from schools is typically very helpful and important in understanding the child’s functioning and improvement over time, though this requires a signed release of information.
Dr. Ashbaugh has broad experience in working with teenagers in a variety of settings, and she enjoys working with adolescents and their families. Therapy with adolescents typically addresses difficulties related to mood, identity, family, school, relationships, future planning, and/or coping. Teenagers typically require a greater degree of autonomy from their parents in psychotherapy, and issues of privacy are typically important in the establishment of trust. Parents are typically not as commonly in session with adolescents, though this can vary depending on the goals of treatment.
Of note, adolescents in Washington State can legally seek therapy individually without the knowledge or consent of their parents and they have legal rights over their records and confidential information. (RCW 71.34.530)