penticton_Calgary_Teen_Youth_Counceling copyTeen Counselling

Teen counselling is a speciality at Phoenix Rises. Did you know you can LEARN to overcome teenage and family challenges?

The teenage years can be hard. As adolescence gives way to young adulthood young people are faced with change on every level – in planning their education and eventual career, forming new relationships, using their greater personal freedom and independence to make good choices.  Not every teen has all the necessary coping skills and parents may find them somewhat ‘lost’, confrontational and exhibiting anti-social, defiant behaviour. Communication then breaks down and may lead to disharmony at home, poor grades at school, even drugs or crime.

As a parent of a teen with social, emotional and behavioural challenges you know the experience can feel frustrating, overwhelming, even isolating. If you or your teenager are struggling it makes sense to involve outside help.  Therapy begins with an assessment process to identify where skills are lacking and to gain a good understanding of the impact the struggle is having on the family. It’s then possible to move into the work of building the necessary skills to allow your teenager to succeed.

Lyn McDonald specializes in working with young people, teenagers especially, drawing on her background as an educator and counsellor in a number of junior-high and senior-high schools.

Sandra Forsyth and Diane Monteith have also spent much of their careers working with this age group and their parents. All therapists are qualified psychotherapists who have the sensitivity to create empathy with young people and teach them new skills to better manage the challenges they face everyday. Treatment options include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Collaborative Problem Solving, Narrative Therapy, Trauma Therapy (EMDR). Sometimes, it is necessary for the therapist to work in conjunction with a medical doctor when medication is required along with psychotherapy / family therapy.

Create Harmony at Home. Potentially, your family can be transformed once we unlock the underlying dynamics and you learn to practice the strategies that work to overcome teenage issues and create harmony at home. It’s amazing to see the shifts that occur when teens and/or their families work through this process!


Here is Just a Selection of Our Services …


Behavioural Disorders such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) now renamed Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), when left untreated, can lead to a range of other challenges by the time a child reaches young adulthood.

  • What do we do?

While for certain conditions some teenagers will have been prescribed medication, our experience shows that the teen does better when medication is combined with therapy. Proper intervention helps teens overcome their challenges successfully. As therapists, we complete an assessment process which determines the most effective therapeutic interventions tailored to the issues at hand. Treatment can vary from teaching behavioural/cognitive strategies that diminish the challenges for the teen living with a behavioural disorder; to EMDR for trauma based causes or entrenched thinking; to teaching parents specific skills to deal with ODD.

With proper treatment these teens can learn to work with their challenges successfully – leading to better grades, relationships and ultimately better lives.


teen-954378_1920The teenage years are often when issues of self-esteem, self-confidence and school challenges – study skills, planning for a future career, peer group relationships – become apparent. The teenager may find it hard to talk to a parent. In their attempt to define their independence they often become rebellious, defiant and moody creating disharmony at home.

  • How can we help?

Involving a therapist who can engage with this age group and their parents will promote understanding of the situation and diffuse the conflict between parents and teens. Additionally, the therapists at Phoenix Rises have the knowledge to teach teens the new skills required to better manage the challenges and decisions they face at this stage of their lives.


Stress may arise from family dynamics, dating relationship problems, illness, as well as from many other factors.  Anxiety is often a normal response to life situations during the teen years. However, when anxiety becomes debilitating, intervention is crucial. Depression, another common problem in adolescence, stems from a myriad of causes such as: concern over peer relationships; hormone changes; traumatic experiences, such as sexual assault,  family issues; or significant losses such as a family relocation or a loss of a parent, sibling or friend.  Depression and anxiety tends to show up in symptoms of acting out, changes in sleeping and eating patterns and unpredictable or unusual emotional responses.  This may lead to or be accompanied by self-harming or suicidal ideation; and if these teenage challenges persist for weeks or months, there will be a noticeable shift in the teen’s level of happiness, personal development, relationships, and performance in school.


girl-1106987_1920All teens are learning to relate to their peers as friends, as well as potential romantic and eventually sexual partners.  Sexual orientation is about who you are attracted to sexually, romantically and emotionally.  In general, the majority of young people are heterosexual in attraction. However a smaller, yet significant group, are same-sex attracted. For some teens, their attraction is to both the same and opposite sex.  This group is often referred to as bi-sexual.

It can be more difficult for same-sex attracted and bisexual teens who often lack same-sex relationship models.  It can also be a challenging time for the families of these young people as they struggle to understand, sort out how to be supportive, and eventually become effective advocates for their kids.  The struggles of this age become even more difficult when there is no support from family.

It can be even more difficult for young people who wrestle with gender identity issues.

The gender identity question is a growing awareness for a teen that the body with which they were born, for example, male, does not match the gender that they feel and identify with on the inside, that is, female. The opposite is also true, being born in a female body but feeling and identifying as male on the inside. It is not uncommon that these young people have been aware of these differences at a very young age. The struggle is first sorting out whether the teen is truly transgendered and secondly, what that means for them with regard to living congruently by matching the inner world with the outer self.  These are big issues for the emerging teenager as well as their families.

Through careful listening, empathic understanding and thorough assessment tools, Phoenix Rises therapists have knowledge and experience with helping teens and their families sort through these emerging orientation and identity issues such that the teen and their family is able to move forward in a life giving way.

  • How do we help?

Teenage behavior and issues are a special interest area for us at Phoenix Rises. Talking to a third party, especially a therapist trained to help, can make all the difference.  We peel back the layers to understand the underlying causes as these young people do need the help of professionals trained in the appropriate techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Collaborative Problem-Solving, Narrative Therapy, Trauma Therapy (EMDR) and supportive and adjustment therapies. Teenagers can learn how to overcome what is troubling them and unleash their true potential!