Individual Psychotherapy for Adults & Teens in San Francisco

Darcie Spence, MA, JD

Psychotherapy, Consultation & Coaching in San Francisco       415-820-3250


Psychotherapy for Teens

I provide psychotherapy to individual teens as well as education to parents about adolescent development.  For specific issues covered during treatment or education, please see Significant Areas of Focus below.  For information about my experience working with teens, please click here for BIO.

Reasons Psychotherapy can be Helpful During Adolescence

Adolescence is a complicated phase of development for teens and their parents. It is the transition period between childhood dependence and adult independence.  If teens successfully navigate this period, they will become fully functioning adults with good judgment, an ability to set healthy limits and boundaries and have a comfort level with who they are as people.

There are two primary developmental tasks for teens during adolescence. The first is for the teen to begin separating from their parents as they move towards independence. The second is for the teen to figure out who they are in the process, which requires trying out new behaviors and having new experiences.  Both tasks happen over a period of time and are anxiety provoking for both teens and their parents.

Psychotherapy can help teens navigate adolescence successfully for a number of reasons:

  1.    During adolescence, teens have a heightened need for privacy and their peer group gains increasing importance. Teens just don’t want to talk to their parents about everything. Teens do, however, have lots of questions. Relying on their peer group for the answers or operating without any information at all, does not lead to the best and healthiest choices;

  1.    During adolescence, teens are trying to figure out who they are. The process necessitates trying on new behaviors and having new experiences which is anxiety provoking.  At the same time, teens are under considerable peer pressure to engage in behaviors that may not be right for them.  Talking with a therapist can help a teen sort through these issues and also find ways to stand up to peer pressure;

  1.    Teens do not have great judgment.  Teens are impulsive, think they are invincible, and definitely believe they know more than their parents.  Talking to a therapist can help teens become more self-aware and develop good judgment.  The process itself teaches teens to slow down and to think about possible consequences before taking actions they may regret later.

Significant Areas of Focus


The challenges that teens face manifest in many different ways.  Significant areas of focus in my adolescent practice include:

  1. Self-Esteem/Assertiveness

  2. Peer Pressure/Boundaries

  3. Body Image/Eating Disorders

  4. Shyness/Social Anxiety

  5. Psychosomatic Issues/Health Issues

  6. Trauma & Abuse

  7. Oppositional/Conduct Issues

  8. Sexual Promiscuity/ High Risk Behaviors

I also provide education about adolescent development to parents of teens.

Significant areas of focus during education sessions with parents are:

  1. Helping Parents Understand the Developmental Tasks of Adolescence;

  2. Understanding the Importance of the Peer Group & the Teen’s Need for Privacy;

  3. How Teens Develop Good Judgment & the Ability to Set Limits;

  4. How to Improve Communication with Teens;

  5. The Importance of Struggle & Learning from Mistakes;

  6. The Importance of Managing Your Own Anxiety & Seeking Support if Appropriate.

Individual Clients

I work with individual adults and teens and welcome clients of all cultural backgrounds and sexual orientations.  I work best with clients who are committed to their own growth and development and who are willing to make a consistent effort to achieve their goals.

  © 2009-2016  Darcie Spence, MA, JD, Psychotherapy, Consultation & Coaching in San Francisco   ☎  415-820-3250