The Montfort Group

When I Was Your Age: Teens

People often ask me why I enjoy working with teen clients. Many people will say, “Teenagers are so complicated!” Well, they’re not wrong.

Adolescent Phases

Adolescence is indeed a complicated phase of life. Hormonal ups and downs collide with cognitive, emotional, and social changes. Even sleep habits begin to radically shift. Isn’t it interesting, though, to consider what we say about teens? Come on, we’ve all commented on the “rowdy kids” loudly chatting at Whataburger or the teens who seem to “aimlessly loiter” around the mall. We roll our eyes. We minimize social behavior. We compare the youth of today to our own experience—conveniently filtered to emphasize how “different” kids are today (plenty of research supports the opposite—children are just as egocentric in this generation as they’ve always been). It truly strikes me how often we remove ourselves so far away from the very developmental process we were all once a part of. Weren’t we all teenagers at some point?


Working with teens has brought my own joys, anguish, and heartache from that period to the forefront of my mind. We try to run away from those years the moment we receive the independence we had been craving, yet as I work with teens in my practice, I feel like I am confronting my own adolescence head-on. I am meeting myself all over again and remembering what it was like to feel the myriad of emotions that accompany adolescence. Through this, I have found immense compassion and empathy for my clients.

My teenage years stand out as some of the most formative of my life, and I can see myself in many of the clients I worked with. I remember the clunky awkwardness. I felt like I was living under a microscope where everyone could peer into my world and judge me from every angle. I recall leading a “double life” in high school. I wanted to please my parents and meet their expectations, but I also wanted to rebel and craft my unique identity. I was class president by day and sneaking out to see my less-than-ideal boyfriends at night. I so badly wanted to carve out my own space in this world. My hometown felt both like a trap I was forced to exist in and a giant playground where my friends and I could spread and explore every nook and cranny.

Each memory is colored by a feeling, as though someone went through my script and highlighted my high school experience. There was joy in being accepted and shame in being bullied. There was wonder when I drank alcohol for the first time with my friends. There was warmth and joy when I first fell in love.


As a therapist to teens, I hope to make this complex time just a little bit easier for both my clients and their parents. I want to be the person I needed when I was younger—a mix of supporter, educator, role-model, and confidant. I did not need judgment or criticism when I was a teen. I needed someone to normalize my tornado of emotion. I needed to feel like I was simultaneously unique as an individual while also feeling accepted by others. I needed to consider other perspectives while also valuing my own.

Therapy is a tool that anyone can benefit from, and teaching teens how to effectively use this tool is a great life-skill that will come in handy in our increasingly complicated world.

If you believe your teen could benefit from therapy, contact The Montfort Group in Plano today

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