What's Your Conflict Style?

Rapport Building With Teens When Teens Don't Talk

teens therapist tools therapists Jul 23, 2022

Therapy with teens requires some unique skills as great deal of resistance may exist when adolescents are pressured into attending and this resistance sometimes shows up as one-word answers and the dreaded 'I don't know' responses.

My People Patterns has some ideas on how to help in the video below, and there's a free PDF you can get here that contains three more reasons on why a client says 'I don't know' and what I do about it. 

As a recovering clinical director of an adolescent treatment center, I have found it helpful when training counselors and therapists to equip them with a variety of counseling techniques that promote both verbal and nonverbal expression. This video provides developmentally appropriate and psychoanalytically informed techniques for assisting therapists and counselors in engaging teens and clients when it seems you're getting a lot of 'I don't know' answers.

Building Rapport With Teens When There's Resistance.

'I don't know' can mean a variety of things, and it's important to have a repertoire of responses in your therapy toolbox to respond appropriately. Getting frustrated is only going to increase the resistance, so make sure you are getting good supervision or talking about your countertransference with your therapist. Sometimes building rapport or creating that therapeutic alliance is as simple as tolerating the help-rejecting tendencies some teens have. 

Therapeutic Alliance With Teens & Resistance 

If your line of questioning is constantly getting push-back, it might be time to change the conversation. I highly recommend you check this video out and consider purchasing the mini-course that goes with it if you need the full list of questions I use when working with teens. 


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