Jason Cohen, Psy.D, M.A.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Other mental health professionals have described my style of interaction with clients as supportive, collaborative, engaging, highly active and rather direct. My preference is for a combination of "doing" and talking. I am very much action oriented. My approach is geared toward change and largely defined by the “Cognitive Behavioral Assimilative Integrative” school of thought...[click to read more]

Psychotherapy with Teens

Parents would not be incorrect if they described the primary task of teenager as a time honored tradition of driving their parents crazy. At some point kids need to leave the nest, and that process escalates here. As parents you may blush when a picture of you surfaces with your Beetles inspired hair dew or your grunge motivated outfit. It made perfect sense to you at the time and if all goes according to plan, your emo, goth, punk, gangster, hipster, etc., child will have the same opportunity when they settle on an identity as an adult. Adolescents is a period marked by attempts to identify who we are and this often requires changing personas nearly as often as your teen changes clothes before heading out to school. The belief that all eyes are on them is natural, normal, and necessary. By the way, the latter, in part, explains the need to document seemingly mundane events on social media networks.

Building off years of prior developmental tasks and milestones, teenager years represent a shift from what was done to us to a developmental period where what we do is of paramount importance. The preparation for adulthood coupled with rapid physical, social and psychological changes calls for teens to experiment with their identity, establish their philosophy on life which is conceptualized in ideals rather than reality, and to do so in an increasingly complex social world that they are acquainted with for the first time. It’s Mother Nature’s cruel joke – plan for your future, but with minimal ability for foresight. A period of “moratorium” marked by a withdrawal of responsibilities is natural during this time.

The good news is, most will navigate this period and come out on the other side just fine. There are however some who will struggle and a delay during this period can be life altering. A mental health professional can assist in determining what is “normal” vs. abnormal and help the most important person in your life navigate this difficult terrain.

Of note, I do prize working with adolescents who seem to have lost their way. Genius displays itself in many forms. If you have a defiant teen, you may very well have a diamond in the rough, but still a diamond and with the right tools, one that can sparkle and is more precious than any stone.


©Copyright 2013 Jason Cohen, Psy.D., M.A. All Rights Reserved.

Psychologist offering psychotherapy, therapy, counseling, psychological testing, sports psychology, forensic psychology, expert witness in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Arroyo Grande, Templeton, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, California