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One of the primary tasks of adolescence is to separate from parents and develop a stable sense of personal identity. Therapy can be helpful when the relationship between an adolescent and his or her parents is too conflict ridden to be productive. Both individual and group therapy allow many adolescents to form a positive relationship with an adult outside the family, who can help them understand the multiple changes they are going through, and give them the support they need to stay focused and to overcome their obstacles to success.

Tasks of Adolescence

Adolescent Development is a period of unparalleled physical, emotional and biological change. Parents are constantly struggling to understand and respond to the unpredictable, ever changing needs and reactions of adolescents.

  • Early Adolescence 11-14

At this age, adolescents are trying to redefine themselves, their relationship to their parents and their relationships to their peers in the wake of tremendous physical and emotional upheaval.

  • Middle Adolescence 15-18

At this age, adolescents begin to venture out of the peer group into one on one love relationships. Sexual identity and relationships with the opposite sex dominate thinking.

  • Late Adolescence 18-23

At this age, adolescents/young adults must define goals for themselves and begin to pursue those goals. These young people must find their place in society and develop standards of behavior that they can live by.

David J Dumais, LCSW is a regular lecturer on adolescent issues for the NYC Department of Education, and gives workshops around the country.

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