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Tools for Setting and Reaching Goals in the New Year

The new year is a great time to reflect and assess treatment goals to stay on track and seek feedback in your work. When setting and reviewing goals with teens, respect what is important to them.

What Works With Teens…

Goal setting with teens can be challenging. There may be several competing sources suggesting the changes they feel are important for that teen. Parents, educators and even coaches may all have different ideas of what changes are needed, all of which may differ from what the teen wants or is ready to change. Balancing perspectives and synthesizing information may help you find some common ground:

  1. Seek input from supportive adults. Hear from parents and any other collaborators you have authorization to consult. Make sure the teen knows you are doing so and you have their ok.
  2. Consult the teen on what feels important to them that you may be able to offer to improve their experience or feel better. Listen to them. Acknowledge the value in what they want (may just be getting the adults off their back).
  3. Help all parties see truth in the others’ perspectives and negotiate an acceptable plan and approach for all involved. If there is a total impasse, we (and parents) may need to accept that the goal is to move toward readiness for change rather than active change… at least for now.

If you already have solid goals in place, take the time to ask teens how they feel they are progressing, if anything needs to change and how you as a service provider may be more effective in helping them reach their goals. They will appreciate that helping adults are respecting them by valuing what is important to them.

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Upcoming Events

2019 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium Workshop on Saturday, March 23, 2019 3:00-5:00pm “Cracking the Code with Adolescents: Core Skills for Effective Interactions

2019 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium