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Therapy and the Optimal Delusionality of Adolescence

September 14, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 4:15 pm

$80 – $90

Live Interactive Webinar

Instructor: Martha Straus, Ph.D.

Level: Intermediate

CEs: 3

How do therapists become more effective at helping teen clients and beleaguered parents survive the delusional thinking of adolescence? Most therapy traditions hold that a mark of healthy functioning is to see reality as it is (whatever that means). But what if a key sign of adolescent health is, instead, an “optimal delusionality?” What would happen if therapists stopped looking to modify or work around the unique structure and functioning of the teenage brain—delusional though it may be at times—and do more to intentionally foster and celebrate the creative and generative aspects of that adolescent’s alternative worldview?

In this workshop, participants will learn strategies to help join with the spirit—if not the style— of adolescent clients and support their worried parents. Using Developmental-Relational Theory (DRT), we will explore the benefits of effective dependence: compassionate adult engagement provides relational bumpers for young clients careening on their way toward rich and complex identities. Drawing on research into adolescent social, emotional, and neurological development, we will discuss the four most common adolescent delusions. This conversation will be framed within the context of legitimate adult concerns based both in memories of our own teen years and a shared appreciation for the unprecedented dangers and challenges of growing up in 2021. Through case examples and lively discussion, we will consider what happens when we stop trying to correct and override adolescent thinking errors so they problem-solve like adults while helping younger clients to stay safe and live fully as they are.


September 14, 2023
1:00 pm - 4:15 pm
$80 – $90
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Smith College School for Social Work
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