You see your teen struggling but you're not sure how to help. Is your teenager depressed? Are they feeling anxious about high school? What are they thinking? Maybe you're worried they're having sex or they're struggling with their sexual identity. You just want your son or daughter to have a safe space to process their emotions.
Clinic owner and licensed therapist, Amanda Sasek, has been working with teenagers for 10+ years. At this point, counseling teens is one of her favorite parts of the job. Is it because she's still "young and hip"? Maybe. Whatever it is, she connects with teens in a meaningful and productive way that keeps her clients returning to her beyond their teenage years. In order to get a better sense of how Amanda works, we would love for you to hear directly from her, in her own words.
Specialties When Working with Teens
Because teenagers are my favorite group to work with, I see a wide variety of teens dealing with any number of mental health, emotional or behavioral concerns. Some of the most common reasons come to counseling at my office include:
Depression, Anxiety, Teenage Growing Pains
Teenage years can be hard. Add on depression, anxiety, or mood issues of any kind and it can wreck havoc on life for both the parents and teens. Often just finally talking about these problems openly in therapy brings a lot of relief for all. Through counseling, I work with teens and their parents to figure out exactly what the mood issues are, learn coping skills, and figure out changes needed in their life.
PTSD, Sexual Trauma, Other Trauma
I am passionate about working with teens who have experienced something overwhelming, including sexual trauma. Teens in this situation can feel confused, shameful, and scared. I help them talk through their experience in whatever way feels comfortable to them so they can get to a better place. When counseling teens who have experienced sexual trauma, I often use a trauma counseling technique called EMDR. Essentially, EMDR helps your teen reprocess the stressful memories, accept what happened and move forward.
Concerns Related to Sexuality/Gender
Perhaps your teen has told you they are questioning their sexuality or gender identity. If they are, they may need a safe space to explore this further and find some answers. As a parent, you may also need a place to process and figure this out as a family. I'd love to help there, too. If your teen is looking for more information about hormone therapy/gender transitioning, my counseling office is a safe place for your teen to explore their emotions. I have helped dozens of teens through gender transition with support, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), writing hormone therapy support letters, family therapy, and more. This is a time for celebrating who your teen truly is and helping everyone in the family embrace all aspects of their identity in a meaningful and loving way.
For your Teen (Have them read this!)
Hello! Thank you for considering therapy with me. First let me say I LOVE working with teens. I think I'm still young enough to "get it" and still have enough experience and mental health expertise to help you with whatever you want to come in to talk about. Teen years can be very difficult, and I want to give you an unbiased place to process things that are going on in your life. If you don't want your parents to know what we are talking about - fine - I have a strict confidentiality policy. Unless you are talking about harm to yourself or others we can keep things between us. If you want to include your parents in any part of your therapy I am MORE than happy to help you discuss difficult things with your parents and figure out how to have them support you in the way that will help you the most. Whether you want to talk about depression, anxiety, friendship issues, dating/sex issues, sexual trauma, or whatever-- I am truly honored to just be there, listen and support you. If you are on the fence about starting therapy, let's start with a free 30 minute consultation appointment where we can decide if I'm a good match for what you are hoping for. If you decide I'm not a good fit, that is okay! I will give you referrals to other great therapists that might be better for you. I truly look forward to meeting you! ~Amanda
Talking to Teens about Sex & Sexuality
I often see that parents get nervous or scared about talking to their kids about sex. They think that discussing it with them may "encourage" the behavior. In reality, a study by Schuster et. al (1998) found that when teens have access to condoms, they're more likely to use them. However, they're no more likely to engage in a higher frequency of sexual activity! Today's adolescents have already been exposed to peer gossip, TV, movies, and other media content about sexuality, and they’re likely to have questions for you. Parents now face the reality of having to be prepared with information about sexual rights, anatomy, consent, decision-making skills, STDs, healthy relationships, and so much more. And, that is on top of everything else you do for your family.
Need some help talking to your teen about sex?
While all parents can benefit from having the tools to discuss the above issues with their children, parents of teens who identify within the LGBTQ+ umbrella may be seeking special tools for helping a child feel loved, secure, safe, and supported in their home and community. The therapists at SWI can provide information about advocating for your teen, learning about specific community-based issues and language, and becoming more aware of your own opportunities for personal growth. No matter the reason you want help to educate your teen about sexual health, the therapists at Sexual Wellness Institute are qualified and eager to assist.
My Approach as a Therapist to Helping You Talk With Your Teen
Discover the best practices are for engaging your teen in an ongoing dialogue about healthy sexuality over a time-limited course of sessions at the Sexual Wellness Institute. Sessions are designed to help you uncover and develop your own values around sexuality. Through this, we will provide you with tools for giving your teenager the high-quality, reliable information they need in order to make informed decisions about sexual activity for life.
Other topics may include, but are not limited to:
Attending to questions about physical and emotional changes related to puberty and sexual development
Addressing cybersex and porn consumption with your adolescent
Identifying developmentally appropriate content for discussions about sexuality with your adolescent
Let us help you speak to your teen in a more effective way. We can help clarify messages about sexuality and more, with information speaking directly to your child’s age, concerns, culture, and developing identity.
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Sexual Wellness Institute, PLLC is a specialized sex & relationship therapy practice in Plymouth, MN. We serve clients all over Minnesota and Wisconsin and are located near Maple Grove, St. Louis Park, Wayzata, & Minnetonka.