What are some ways to keep teens motivated to engage in therapy?
Keeping teenagers motivated to engage in therapy can be challenging, but there are several effective strategies you can employ to encourage their participation and investment in the process. Here are some ways to keep teens motivated to engage in therapy:
- Build a positive therapeutic relationship: Establishing a strong rapport and trust with the teen is essential. Show empathy, respect, and genuine interest in their concerns. When teens feel heard and understood, they are more likely to stay engaged.
- Involve the teen in goal-setting: Collaboratively set achievable goals that align with the teen’s interests and aspirations. Teens are more motivated when they have a sense of ownership and feel their therapy is working toward their desired outcomes.
- Offer choices and autonomy: Give teens a degree of control over their therapy process. Involve them in decision-making, such as selecting therapeutic activities or techniques to explore. Providing choices empowers them and increases their investment in the process.
- Utilise their strengths and interests: Tailor therapy sessions to incorporate the teen’s strengths and interests. This approach makes therapy more enjoyable and relevant to their lives, increasing motivation and engagement.
- Make therapy interactive and engaging: Incorporate interactive and creative activities into therapy sessions. This could include art therapy, role-playing, writing exercises, or using technology-based tools. Interactive approaches make therapy sessions more dynamic and appealing to teenagers.
- Emphasise confidentiality: Assure the teen of the confidentiality of therapy sessions, except in cases where there is a risk of harm. Confidentiality helps teens feel safe to express themselves openly, knowing that their personal information will not be shared without their consent.
- Connect therapy to real-life situations: Help teens see the relevance of therapy to their everyday lives. Discuss how the skills they learn can be applied to their relationships, school, or other areas of concern. Linking therapy to their experiences increases motivation and engagement.
- Provide consistent support: Consistency and regularity are crucial. Be reliable and punctual for therapy sessions, and communicate any changes well in advance. Consistent support demonstrates your commitment and fosters a sense of reliability for the teen.
- Celebrate progress and achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate the teen’s progress, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement and recognition of their efforts can boost motivation and encourage further engagement.
- Engage the parents or guardians: Involve parents or guardians in the therapeutic process. Regularly communicate with them about the teen’s progress and collaborate on strategies to support therapy outside of sessions. Parental involvement can reinforce the importance of therapy and provide additional motivation for the teen.
Remember, every teenager is unique, so it’s essential to adapt your approach based on their individual preferences and needs. Flexibility, patience, and a non-judgmental attitude can go a long way in fostering motivation and engagement in therapy.
Leanne Hopkins is an Occupational Therapist at Succeed Healthcare Solutions and is passionate about creating a world where families thrive. If you are a health or education professional seeking an evidence-based multi-disciplinary clinic for teens that strategically avoids waitlists, please contact us and arrange a free 15-minute Discovery Interview to see how we can assist.