Dr. Martha Straus, Professor in the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program at Antioch University New England, and Kevin McKenzie, a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program, published a relevant and interesting article on adolescents “You Can Do Anything, The Outsized Dreams of Adolescents” in the Psychotherapy Networker.
“In this piece, we suggest that some of the more common concerns of parents and symptoms we see in adolescent clients come from ‘teen think:’ they just have too much—or, in the case of depression and despair, not enough—adolescent delusionality,” said Dr. Straus. “Therapists might be more effective if they stopped trying to get adolescents to problem-solve like dreary adults and instead joined with the spirit, if not the style, of younger clients.”
The article discusses the idea of “optimal delusionality” when working with the four most common kinds of normative teen think: delusions of possible selves, personal fables, imaginary audiences, and boundless freedoms. It also suggests ways for therapists to intervene more creatively and empathically, honoring this essential—if high-risk—time of life.
Dr. Martha Straus is the author of Treating Traumatized Adolescents: Development, Attachment, and the Therapeutic Relationship and, most recently, co-author of the third edition of The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships. Kevin McKenzie’s work and training have focused on integrating developmental and interpersonal perspectives in therapy with adults and emerging adults.