Adolescent Therapy Techniques (33+)

The present blogspot will be based on the question “what are the adolescent therapy techniques?”. It will enlist the various techniques used in adolescent therapy and provide details of the usage of each therapy technique used in adolescent therapy.

What are adolescent therapy techniques?

The adolescent therapy techniques are a group of various therapeutic interventions that are utilized by psychotherapists to provide psychotherapy sessions to adolescents. 

The adolescent therapy techniques are aimed at resolving the conflicts and emotional anxieties being faced by the adolescents without breaking their defenses. 

A specialized set of techniques is used with the adolescent population in therapies as these clients are often reluctant to change or share their unpleasant emotions and thoughts.

Following are the therapy interventions often utilized with adolescents: 

  • Supportive therapy
  • Play and art therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Parent child interaction therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy

Supportive therapy

The supportive therapy interventions are used while working with adolescents to help them live a life with a relatively positive perspective.  It aids the adolescents to learn better coping strategies to overcome the stressors in life. 

Adolescents are better able to identify their healthy and unhealthy behaviors and manage to find solutions  to their daily life problems and adjustment issues through supportive therapy.

Play and art therapy

The play and art therapy interventions are used with adolescents to help them identify and analyze their unconscious conflicts.

Play is a great source of therapy that links an adolescent behavior to his unconscious.  

Several play and art therapy interventions are employed in the adolescent therapy sessions.

The therapist closely observes the play of the adolescent client. 

The therapist uses the play and art materials like several toys, play doughs, clay, soft toys, male oriented toys, female oriented toys, animal characters, superhero characters and other indoor games. The adolescent client is left in the playroom to pick up any toy to play and the therapist facilitates the play. 

The therapist at the end analyses the patterns of play of the adolescent client and the type of toys he preferred to play with and the play materials he closely identifies himself with.

Through the combination of various play activities and the spontaneous talk during the play with the adolescent client, the therapist is able to draw inferences about the adolescent client’s conflicts and the adolescent client has an opportunity to better comprehend and manage their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. 

The play and art therapy uses drawing techniques, coloring techniques, indoor games, sociograms, genograms and other projective techniques to facilitate the subjective well-being of adolescents.


Psychoeducation therapy technique involves educating the adolescent client about the problematic behavior and facilitating the adolescent client to bring about the necessary change.

The psychoeducation therapy intervention aims at creating an awareness in the adolescent client’s mind about the various impacts of problem behavior on the life of the adolescent in the long term and short term.

As a result of psychoeducation therapy intervention, the therapist facilitates the adolescent client to change the unhealthy behavior into a healthy behavior and set realistically achievable short term goals.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

The psychodynamic psychotherapy is based on the psychoanalysis practices for therapeutic interventions with adolescent clients. It is aimed at understanding the various factors that influence the adolescent’s feelings, thoughts  and behaviors.

The psychodynamic therapeutic interventions are centered around the early childhood experiences that are stored in the unconscious and are responsible for the personality patterns of the adolescents as believed in psychoanalysis.

The psychodynamic psychotherapy interventions help in identifying the inner conflicts, struggles and defense mechanisms that govern the behavior patterns of adolescents. Under the psychodynamic psychotherapy interventions, 2-3 sessions are conducted per week for the restructuring of personality patterns.

Parent child interaction therapy

The parent child interaction therapy is focused on building positive relations between the child and the parents. It is  aimed at facilitating the parent child bond and strengthening the interactions between parents and the child through various family therapy and individual therapy techniques.

Acceptance and commitment therapy

The acceptance and commitment therapy is aimed at improving among the adolescents the personality traits of acceptance in general. An adolescent is better able to accept his pleasant and unpleasant emotions as a result of acceptance therapy.

The acceptance and commitment therapy with the adolescents is focused on accepting the various strong and weak parts of personality, relate to the inner conflicts of the personality, connect well to the inner self and commit to move forward in life using a positive perspective in life.

Cognitive behavior therapy

The cognitive behavior therapy with adolescents is aimed at dealing with the dysfunctional thoughts and negative schemas in the adolescents. The cognitive behavior therapy educates the adolescents about the effect of their dysfunctional thoughts on their emotions and behaviors.

The cognitive behavior therapy motivates adolescents to shift their negative perspective to the positive one through helping them develop an insight about the cognitive distortions.

The adolescents are better able to challenge their negative thoughts and establish new alternate thoughts that are relatively more functional as a result of cognitive behavior therapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

The dialectical behavior therapy with adolescents is based on the wise mind thinking approach. The dialectical behavior therapy approaches are centered around mindfulness practices.

As a result of dialectical behavior therapy techniques the adolescents are better able to live in the here and now and practice taking decisions in life through the wise mind instead of the emotional mind or logical mind.

Dialectical behavior therapy also helps adolescents to learn about social skills like tolerance, radical acceptance, emotional regulation and assertiveness.

Group therapy

Group therapy is a form of therapy intervention with adolescents that is aimed at a group of adolescents with the same age and a similar problem area. 

The group therapy focuses on building social support among the participants of the group and generalizing the problem area so that each adolescent knows that other adolescents also face the same issues in their life.

In group therapy, adolescents learn from experiences of each other while the therapist facilitates the group processes.

The group therapy is based on many different therapeutic activities including  play and art techniques, psychodynamic techniques, support work and psychoeducation. 

The group therapy is mostly conducted with adolescents for substance abuse, suicidal ideation, bullying and parent child conflicts.

Interpersonal Therapy

The interpersonal therapy interventions with adolescents is centered on the effect of interpersonal relations on the adolescents well-being. 

The aim of the individual therapy is to find out the various consequences of interpersonal relations on the adolescents emotional health. 

The interpersonal therapy interventions are aimed at identifying the emotional anxiety among adolescents due to the interpersonal conflicts and dysfunctional relations and works on resolving the underlying relationship conflicts.

BetterHelp: A Better Alternative

Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.

BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.


The current blogspot focused on the various therapeutic techniques used with adolescents during the psychotherapy sessions. We learned that adolescents’ populations are generally defensive and resistant towards therapy and thus play and art therapy techniques work best with them. Alongside, supportive work during the psychotherapy sessions, psychoeducation, group therapy and dialectical behavior therapy techniques are used to help them generalize their unpleasant emotions and experiences and learn healthy coping strategies to manage them. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Adolescent Therapy Techniques

How do you engage resistant adolescents in therapy?

A resistant teen is usually defensive about open ended and close ended questions. Hence the key is to start the sessions with play and art therapy techniques alongside maintaining silence as and when necessary. 

How do you counsel an adolescent?

An adolescent is counseled using solution focused counseling and youth counseling techniques that are based on play and art interventions. Alongside, motivational interviewing techniques are also used to help them remain motivated for counseling sessions.

How can a teen start a counseling session?

A teen can start counseling  sessions by meeting a specifically trained adolescent counselor who is well trained to counsel the young adult population and working towards the resolution of an underlying conflict.