When I was in high school, I had mixed feelings about going back to school each year. I loved the idea of a fresh start. Every year, I got a new opportunity to start over, to reinvent myself. Though I remember loving this time of year, that wasn’t the case for many of my friends. Some of them would practically get sick before school started because they were so stressed out.
As therapists, we’ve all experienced those moments when we’re talking about a stressful topic or doing an exposure intervention and, all of a sudden, the client seems to be flooded with anxiety or gives you a blank, spacey stare. They may even look like they’re about to run out of your office. This is the time to use a grounding strategy.
Parent-teen power struggles are nothing new. Teenagers pushing back against parental expectations and limits are a normal part of adolescent development. This is how kids move towards independence and prepare for emancipation.