Teen Clients

Working with teen clients can be incredibly rewarding.  When adolescents come to therapy, they can work through challenge and learn skills that will help them for years to come.  We asked therapists who specialize in teens what some of their favorite resources are and these are the books they recommended.

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teen counseling book start where you areStart Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration Journal by Meera Lee Patel

Start Where You Are is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams.





Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky’s acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcersfeatures new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress. As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and the ones that plague us now-are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal’s does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.
Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. This new edition promises to be the most comprehensive and engaging one yet.

Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly

The Anxiety Gremlin loves one thing – to feed on your anxiety! But watch out, as the fuller he gets, the more anxious you get! How can you stop him? Starve him of his favourite food – your anxiety – and he’ll shrink and shrivel away.

Starving the Anxiety Gremlin is a unique and award-winning resource to help young people understand different types of anxiety and how to manage them, including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety, generalised anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Based on cognitive behavioural principles that link thoughts, feelings and behaviours, the techniques described help young people to understand why they get anxious and how they can ‘starve’ their anxiety gremlin in order to manage their anxiety.

This engaging workbook uses fun activities and real life stories, and can be used by young people aged 10+ on their own or with a parent or practitioner. It is also an ideal anxiety management resource for those working with young people, including mental health practitioners, social workers, education sector staff and youth workers.

An internationally respected neurologist offers a revolutionary look at the brains of adolescents providing surprising insights-including why smart kids often do stupid things-and practical advice for adults and teens In this groundbreaking accessible book Dr Frances E Jensen a mother teacher researcher and internationally known expert in neurology introduces us to the mystery and magic of the teen brain One of the first books to focus exclusively on the neurological development of adolescents The Teenage Brain presents new findings dispels widespread myths and provides practical suggestions for negotiating this difficult and dynamic life stage for both adults and adolescents Interweaving easy-to-follow scientific data with anecdotes drawn from her experiences as a parent clinician and public speaker Dr Jensen explores adolescent brain functioning and development including learning and memory and investigates the impact of influences such as drugs multitasking sleep and stress The Teenage Brain reveals how Adolescents may not be as resilient to the effects of drugs as we previously thought Occasional use of marijuana has been shown to cause lingering memory problems and long-term use can affect later adulthood I Q Multi-tasking causes divided attention and can reduce learning ability Emotionally stressful situations in adolescence can have permanent effects on mental health and may lead to higher risk for certain neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression Rigorous yet accessible warm yet direct The Teenage Brain sheds new light on young adults and provides practical suggestions for how parents schools and even the legal system can better help them during this crucial period.

Nearly a decade ago, Cutting boldly addressed a traumatic psychological disorder now affecting as many as two million Americans and one in fifty adolescents. More than that, it revealed self-mutilation as a comprehensible, treatable disorder, no longer to be evaded by the public and neglected by professionals. Using copious examples from his practice, Steven Levenkron traces the factors that predispose a personality to self-mutilation: genetics, family experience, childhood trauma, and parental behavior. Written for sufferers, parents, friends, and therapists, Cutting explains why the disorder manifests in self-harming behaviors and describes how patients can be helped.



girls and sex

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

The author of the New York Times bestseller Cinderella Ate My Daughter offers a clear-eyed picture of the new sexual landscape girls face in the post-princess stage—high school through college—and reveals how they are negotiating it.

A generation gap has emerged between parents and their girls. Even in this age of helicopter parenting, the mothers and fathers of tomorrow’s women have little idea what their daughters are up to sexually or how they feel about it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over seventy young women and a wide range of psychologists, academics, and experts, renowned journalist Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important possibilities of girls’ sex lives in the modern world.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy with Suicidal Adolescentsby Alec L. Miller,‎ Jill H. Rathus &‎ Marsha M. Linehan

Filling a tremendous need, this highly practical book adapts the proven techniques of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to treatment of multiproblem adolescents at highest risk for suicidal behavior and self-injury. The authors are master clinicians who take the reader step by step through understanding and assessing severe emotional dysregulation in teens and implementing individual, family, and group-based interventions. Insightful guidance on everything from orientation to termination is enlivened by case illustrations and sample dialogues. Appendices feature 30 mindfulness exercises as well as lecture notes and 12 reproducible handouts for “Walking the Middle Path,” a DBT skills training module for adolescents and their families. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print these handouts and several other tools from the book in a convenient 8 1/2″ x 11″ size.

Life Strategies for Teens Workbookby Jay McGraw

Jay McGraw’s New York Times bestseller Life Strategies for Teens shows teens that Life Strategies are not just something for their parents, but that teens can use them to take over the driver’s seat and steer their own lives as well. Jay speaks to teens as equals, and gives them the straight story he knows and has been through himself.

Now with the Life Strategies for Teens Workbook, Jay McGraw has created a fun-filled companion book to help teens work their way through the Life Strategies, and, in turn, through those tumultuous years between playing like a kid and acting as an adult. In the Workbook, Jay introduces a variety of entertaining quizzes, activities, and questions to help teens better answer the question of who they are. From figuring out the roles they play to determining the things they want to change about their lives, this is the perfect guide to showing teens the power of the Life Strategies, as well as the power of their own lives.

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens: A Guide to Living an Extraordinary Life by Joseph Ciarrochi,‎ Louise Hayes and Ann Bailey

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life for Teens is a workbook that provides you with essential skills for coping with the difficult and sometimes overwhelming emotions that stress you out and cause you pain. The emotions aren’t going anywhere, but you can find out how to deal with them. Once you do, you will become a mindful warrior―a strong person who handles tough emotions with grace and dignity―and gain many more friends and accomplishments along the way.

Based in proven-effective acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), this book will arm you with powerful skills to help you use the power of mindfulness in everyday situations, stop finding faults in yourself and start solving your problems, how to be kinder to yourself so you feel confident and have a greater sense of self-worth, and how to identify the values that will help you create the life of your dreams.

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brainby Daniel J. Siegel MD

A New York Times bestseller Between the ages of twelve and twenty four the brain changes in important and at times challenging ways In Brainstorm Dr Daniel Siegel busts a number of commonly held myths about adolescence for example that it is merely a stage of immaturity filled with often crazy behavior According to Siegel during adolescence we learn vital skills such as how to leave home and enter the larger world connect deeply with others and safely experiment and take risks Drawing on important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology Siegel explores exciting ways in which understanding how the brain functions can improve the lives of adolescents making their relationships more fulfilling and less lonely and distressing on both sides of the generational divide.



DBT Skills Manual for Adolescentsby Jill H. Rathus and‎ Alec L. Miller

From leading experts who have trained thousands of professionals in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), this manual provides indispensable tools for treating adolescents with emotional or behavioral problems of any level of severity. Clinicians are guided step by step to teach teens and parents five sets of skills: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Walking the Middle Path (a family-based module developed by the authors specifically for teens), Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Designed for optimal clinical utility, the book features session outlines, teaching notes, discussion points, examples, homework assignments, and 85 reproducible handouts, in a large-size format for easy photocopying. Purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials.

If you know of another book that belongs on this list let us know here or tell us about it in the comments. Make sure you’re also following The Therapist’s Bookshelf on Facebook and Instagram.

Many therapists enjoy recommending books to their clients to supplement the work they are doing together. We also use books to help ourselves grow as people and practitioners. Remember though that books are never a replacement for real human connection or for therapy when it’s needed. If you find yourself needing a therapist, a great place to start is Psychology Today. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

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