Do you counsel adolescents?

Mr. Peele:

Our class enjoys your comments. We are curious. Exactly how much experience do you have working with (counseling and therapy) with the chemically dependent? Did you counsel adolescents? If so, where and when?

Canadian Addictions Counselling student

I am a licensed psychologist in the state of New Jersey. I try to maintain a core level of counseling, to keep in touch with my roots. My clients are generally those who have been failed by the system; who reject the overwhelmingly 12-step-biased programs they are forced into in New Jersey as a matter of course.

Some of these are adolescents. Indeed, when you think about it, forcing a kid arrested for DWI or some alcohol-related misdemeanor or who is found with marijuana in his locker into a disease program is truly ridiculous. But it takes a wise and independent parent to bring the adolescent to me, since kids in this situation are not in charge of their own destinies. Even then parents will have to be very forceful oft-times in order to get the court system to accept counseling with me in place of the state-mandated programs.

The children I meet this way have problems, a lot of impulse control issues, but they are so far from “chemically dependent” I wonder about the average treatment center, which I have never worked at. I’d like to volunteer to work in one to see whether the kids I get are more or less typical—as I think they are.

Now, I don’t get the completely down-and-out child with multiple life problems, broken home, complete lack of success—perhaps even involvement—in school. But, of course, these kids are not clients at Fair Oaks or other high-cost private centers near my home.

Best regards,

Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele , recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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