The skills to stop self-harming

Skills to Stop Self-Harming.png

You can’t run away from your problems without running into more problems…

Many times when our teen clients experience discomfort, the natural tendency is to avoid.  

Friend drama?  Pretend it doesn’t exist

Parent conflict?  Isolate in your room

Too much school work stress?  Shut down and don’t do it

The problem with avoidance, though is that the problem doesn’t go away.  

And it gets bigger and bigger… as do the consequences of not approaching it.

Think about it…

What happens if you’re still self-harming in your thirties?

Or, avoiding work every time you’re anxious when you’re 25?

Avoidance as a long-term strategy simply doesn’t work.

At the teen support center, we teach our clients to TOLERATE discomfort.

We want you to be prepared for life’s ups and downs that include leaning into the unknown.

Expect it

Understand it

Learn how to LIVE with it

It’s like learning how to want ice cream without actually eating ice cream.

You CAN experience and acknowledge your urge without acting on it EVEN when it’s uncomfortable.

It’s hard and it doesn’t always work, but that’s why tolerating discomfort is a practice.

It’s also why you need more than just a distraction skill or two to cope with hardships.

You can only cope for so long before the emotion and urge take over.  

You need to be able to feel the feeling without letting it overcome you and direct your behavior.

And it works when you work it…

The proof is in the RESULTS.

Our teen clients are celebrating multiple months without self-harm and we’re excited to support them in the skill-building steps that prompted this progress.

5 Truths of Senior Year Success

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 3.15.02 PM.png

Ready for your high school senior to move from feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the college application process to feeling SURE and SECURE with the roadmap for college-bound success?

In this FREE Parent Podcast you will learn:

✔️The secret to choosing the best college with your student and why this matters now more than ever

✔️Why choosing a roommate is not a good strategy and how your student can best navigate roommate drama and difficulties with ease

✔️The critical stress management strategies and healthy habits that your student needs now so that they can confidently approach life on their own

✔️How you can complete the Common app, FAFSA and piled up paperwork while maintaining your sanity AND a solid relationship with your teen in the process!

Click below to listen!

How to Shift Out of the Endless Anxiety Cycle


Here's why anxiety "WORKS" and what you can do to shift out of the Endless Anxiety Cycle...

Having anxiety is normal and necessary.

It's what motivates us to get work done.

It's what keeps us safe from dangerous situations.

And when we can use our anxiety as a catalyst to solve problems...

Like studying for a big test

Or looking both ways before we cross a street

Well, then anxiety has done its job and we're happy.

BUT... when our bodies or minds perceive a threat when there is no actual danger, well...

We end up isolating

Or opting out of life events

Or feeling paralyzed to move forward or complete daily tasks

The truth is that avoidance "works" to manage anxiety. And that's what makes it so hard to change.

When we avoid a situation that makes us anxious, it makes the anxiety go away. And that makes us feel safe.

But it also maintains the anxiety.

Avoidant behavior confirms in our brains that the trigger for our anxiety actually IS a threat. And then it makes it even HARDER to face this situation in the future.

At the teen support center, we help teens learn that the only way to anxiety relief is THROUGH the anxiety itself.

We teach targeted coping skills to manage in-the-moment anxiety while also helping our teens to FACE the situation that's making them anxious.

As our amazing therapist Gabby Morale always says, "If you can't face it, you can't fix it... so let's face it together!"


Learn to LAUGH this school year...

Why we make our teen clients cry on purpose-2.png

Does your teen need to learn to LAUGH this year? 😆

Many students are SO focused on the NEXT steps, like college and career that they create stress, anxiety and overwhelm in the moment that makes it difficult to enjoy time with friends, downtime at home and family fun too.

What's more... this becomes a HABIT.

Not only do these teens struggle with stress in school, they begin to take this perspective in all areas of life. (Both now and into adulthood.)

Constantly looking at what comes next.

Perpetually wondering, "Do I measure up?"

Dissatisfied with life and lacking joy.

Feeling like everything is SO hard because they are always focused on what they NEED to be and accomplish, rather than accepting and loving who they are right now while taking action steps to meet goals.

We teach our teen clients to use coping skills and mindfulness as a means to balance accepting life right now so they can actually enjoy it AND setting goals for future success.

This helps teens to learn how to regulate emotions and manage worry thoughts so that they don't take over and make life miserable.

When you're constantly focused on what you don't have, anxiety spirals into panic.

We know that change is impossible without acceptance, so let's help your teen learn to accept themselves AND learn to laugh this school year.

Here's an acronym that we'll teach in our Senior Year Strong Group:

😂 L.A.U.G.H.

Let go of worries

Apply yourself

Use coping skills

set Goals

Have fun!

This is the LAST week to apply for a space in the Senior Year Strong 12-week group series.

Inside Out Treatment for Lasting Results

Inside Out Treatment for Lasting Results.png

Our treatment works from the inside out!

At the teen support center, we focus on decreasing "target behaviors" that brought your teen to treatment.

Managing in the moment discussions and focusing on priority targets is what sets us apart from those therapy sessions where your teen may be having "nice conversations" that make them feel a little bit better or lighter right after treatment, but ultimately don't help them learn to change unhealthy patterns.

Our DBT skill-building approach is a science-backed system to help teens approach and address problems effectively NOW and throughout their lives.

We address behaviors in a hierarchy of 4 steps:

1. We help your teen stop the self-destruction.

Decreasing life-threatening behaviors is always the first priority. Self-harm, suicidal thoughts and any other safety concern is managed before moving onto step 2.

2. We help your teen stop self-sabotaging.

We look at what behaviors are interfering with treatment success and ultimately what's getting in the way of you seeing the best RESULTS for your investment in the process.

3. We help your teen create a life they love.

We look at and help your teen skillfully resolve any difficulties in relationships and in the way they take care of themselves so that they can truly begin to live a life they love.

4. We help your teen learn to love themselves.

Once your teen is routinely using healthy behaviors and having positive social interactions (so that everyday is effective) we help your teen build the skills to fully love and accept themselves even when obstacles and stressors make life more difficult.

By following a science-backed structure, we can ensure that you see LASTING changes so that your teen doesn't return to behaviors that were self-destructive.

Our structured approach is the ultimate solution to "We didn't do anything in therapy!" << You'll see the positive outcomes to prove it!

Want to learn more?

Your Senior Year Roadmap for College Success

6 Shifts to Fill Your Group Fast.png

Parents of rising high school seniors:

How’d you like to have smooth sailing for your teen’s senior year?

Many rising seniors feel overwhelmed, anxious and uncertain about transitioning to college.

Stressors from family, friends, peers, Netflix and social media can influence how successful your teen is in viewing their college experience or expectations. 

As a teen support center, we’ve worked with hundreds of teens who are college-bound and we’ve seen it all before…

“Senioritis” that kicks in October 1st.

Teens with a “bucket list” of risky behaviors to check off before they get to college. 

(Real talk… teens actually don’t want to be the only one in college who hasn’t had sex or tried substances so some begin to take more risks in senior year.)

Teens that put SO. MUCH. PRESSURE. on themselves to maintain perfect grades and extracurriculars that they miss out on the FUN that comes with being the top dogs in high school.

What happens when pre-college stress isn’t addressed?

You have a moody, unhappy teen.

You have a teen who doubts themselves and who isn’t sure about the next steps… and may even self-sabotage out of fear.

You have a teen who works so hard to get to that ideal next step that they hate their lives right now and then realize (often when it’s too late) that they don’t like the college they worked so hard to get into anyway. 

-- 1 in 3 college students don't’ return after freshman year and often times this is attributed to unrealistic expectations about school, based on idealizing a college.

You have a teen who shuts it all down because it’s just too much to handle, so they don’t do ANY of it and they end up with slipping grades and even lower self-esteem

That’s why support is SO important as a high school senior. It’s more than completing the common app and making sure your recommendations are sent off on time.

It’s so much more.

It’s learning to develop coping skills to manage stress and uncomfortable situations now so that when your teen is off on their own they’re equipped with the skills...

To say no
To ask for help
To cope with disappointment
To have a solid set of conflict-resolution skills for roommate troubles and group-work gripes

Defining a successful college experience starts in high school.

Our teens tell themselves that everything will be different once they’re in a new place and paying for their classes...

... but the truth is that without 

Changing communication styles
Reworking entrenched habits
and shifting patterns of behavior that are currently problematic,

you’ll just be paying for the same problems in a new place without the familiarity of home and family for support.

If you want to learn more about how to help your teen move from feeling overwhelmed and uncertain to feeling secure with the fully mapped out plan in hand for rising senior success, click here:

Licensed therapist (and college counselor) Julie Rodgers and I will help you clarify what stressors your teen is currently coping with (and help you decide how well they are actually coping) so that you develop a fully mapped out rising senior strong support plan.

Social Media is Your Teen's Friend (Sometimes)

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 4.55.13 PM.png

If your teen ever gets stuck on difficult images or memories, social media can actually be part of a helpful coping strategy.

Difficult memories or images may get triggered by a smell, a thought, an environment, or a song and can create painful or difficult emotions that make it feel difficult for your teenager to move past that incident.

One of the tricks that we teach in our groups and in our individual sessions at the Teen Support Center is the skill of diffusion, meaning getting yourself unstuck or gaining some distance from something that's difficult for you, like a thought, or a memory, or an image that's in your mind. 

We can make this more accessible to teenagers by comparing that difficult image or that triggered memory to a photo that you post on Instagram.

If you've ever used Instagram, you know that you can put the image onto the platform and then there are different filters that you can use to adjust the brightness of that image, to adjust the colors of that image, to adjust the shadows, or the contrast of that image. Teens are really familiar with this idea putting filters on an image or changing the way that it looks in some way.

When we can encourage our teens to hold an image that's difficult for them when they're in a safe place and have the support to do so, and give them permission play around with what it looks like, to fade the intensity of the image, to change the colors of the image, what we're essentially doing is teaching our teens to learn that they have power over their thoughts, and power over the images that emerge inside their minds.

What this does is it loosens the grip that the image has over our teens as well as makes them feel like they have more power over their thoughts, that they don't need to get hooked in and triggered by these thoughts, that they can acknowledge difficulties and have control over how and when they view those thoughts and images. 

What's your actual problem?

Why Therapy isn't Working....png

Why therapy doesn't work sometimes... 

Did you know that 90% of poor treatment outcomes in therapy are related to assessment errors?

This means that MOST times, what your teen may be working on in therapy is focused on a goal or behavior that's not actually the root of the problem.

The "problem" is actually most times the solution! 

When your teen engages in a behavior that you see as problematic, such as self-injury, school avoidance, arguments or risk-taking behaviors, most times, this behavior is the result of a prompting event that has triggered strong emotions for your teen.

Their "problem" behavior is actually the solution for your teen in the context of their life, their resources, the skills they currently possess and the habits and behaviors they have learned over time in their environment.

The problem is actually the prompting event and high emotions that come with that cue.

Unhealthy behaviors aren't the problem, they're a SKILLS DEFICIT. 

Our goals for your teen at the teen support center are two-fold:

First, we help your teen envision a life worth living and partner with them to build a commitment towards their goals that's so strong that unhealthy behaviors become incompatible with their lives and begin to fade away.

(Have a teen who swears they don't have a problem or that their cutting isn't the problem?  This is definitely the approach they need.)

We help our teens articulate what they WANT out of life... not just what they don't want, so that they can spend their time moving towards goals and enjoying the moment, rather than trying to escape or avoid difficulties.

Next, we help your teen identify what behaviors are getting in the way of their goals occuring and help them learn new behaviors that give them the same outcome (and at the same intensity) as the unhealhty beahviors that were providing them relief.

We're not just spending 45 minutes venting or talking about problems, we're supporting a structured process of behavioral change that will help your teen learn to act skillfully no matter what life throws their way.

6 Questions to ask yourself about your teen's behavior to find the root... 

  1. What happened BEFORE the problem behavior occurred?
  2. Was anything else happening this week that caused them to be more emotionally vulnerable, like less sleep, more schoolwork or illness?
  3. What did I do as a parent to respond to my teen's problem behavior?
  4. Did my response make the behavior better or worse?
  5. What was the ultimate OUTCOME for my teen of engaging in this problem behavior?  Did they find short-term relief, escape or avoidance?
  6. How can I help my teen achieve the positive outcome they desire (and at the same intensity) while helping them phase out unhealthy behaviors?

Help your teen act skillfully! 

Groups have been proven to be the best way to help our teens learn new skills because it allows them to practice in a controlled environment and get real time feedback too!