An inexperienced psychotherapist treating an adolescent girl will all too often look for and emphasize the mistakes and psychopathology of the parents—not a very constructive approach. It is more useful to find out what problems prevent the girl from completing the developmental tasks of adolescence and next to assess the psychodynamics between the adolescent and her parents to determine what the girl needs from them at this point in her life. The next step is to talk with the parents, to give them advice. The therapist should look at the present, the here and now, to find out what parents can do to be helpful, rather than at the past, to uncover what mistakes the parents may have made. Instead of pointing out what they should have done, the therapist can advise them about what they can do now. If the therapist assumes this positive attitude, he or she will be better able to elicit the parents’ aid.
KeywordsDirect Advice Grade School Pervasive Developmental Disorder Gang Member Probation Officer
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