Julie G. Hartman, PhD


Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Lic. # 28202

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When Should an Adolescent be Referred?


Is this adolescent troubled? Or is this just a normal teenager going through the growing pains of adolescence? There are some tell-tale signs of a truly troubled teen who needs the kind of help that therapy can provide.

An adolescent should be referred when you or an important adult (or the teen) is wondering (even just a few times) if a teen's behavior or mood is 'normal' or a problem.


Parents, teachers, and other helpers may notice the signs come on suddenly and seem 'out of the blue' or that they persist for some time or may seem to be getting worse.

Parents who take an honest look at their adolescent should trust their instincts; if you think he/she is in trouble, take action now.

Contact Dr. Hartman for an informational session to figure this out.


Behavior and mood CHANGES that may require attention (one or more may apply):

  • becomes more secretive - more than a desire for greater privacy
  • regular, sudden outbursts of anger - clearly unreasonable and out of proportion to whatever has caused the anger
  • regularly misses curfew, does not show up when expected, and lies about his or her whereabouts (is not where you expected them to be if you check up on them)
  • sleeping alot, difficulty getting up in the morning or falling asleep
  • appetite erratic (eating less or more than usual)
  • social skiils issues, such as bossiness, shyness, missing other's cues
  • extreme mood swings, from depression to elation
  • eating disorder signs (worried about getting fat, over-exercise)
  • sick alot - complaining of stomach aches, headaches, allergies
  • stolen money from your purse on regular occasions
  • negative attitude "I hate school, my teacher hates me, I'm not a school person"
  • overwhelmed statements, "I am trying, but nothing gets better, it's too hard"
  • isolating statements, "leave me alone, nobody likes me"
  • risky behaviors
  • looks hazy, out of it, looks sleepy most of the time
  • fighting alot with parent(s), teacher(s), and/or others
  • doesn't follow your rules, tries to be the boss most of the time
  • worries alot, alot of 'what if' statements
  • struggles with organization, too much clutter/mess
  • cries or protests alot around separations
  • mean to siblings, pets
  • easily frustrated, gives up, asks someone to do it for him/her
  • bored
  • school grades decline
  • teacher complains about adolescent or suggests therapy
  • change in friends, clothing, habits (especially if parent/school isn't fond of them)
  • increased conflict, yelling, 'silent treatment'
  • phobia
  • for girls - excessive, distracting upset during/just prior to menstrual cycle
  • OCD - obsesses and/or engages in rituals to manage stress/fear/worry

General situations that may require extra attenion for your adolescent:

  • separation/divorce, custody issues, parent lives out of adolescent's day-to-day house
  • loss of a loved one
  • life transition - new school, new grade in school, new teacher, new sibling, new house
  • hormonal changes - may cause strain on mood/behavior/relationships
  • break-up of freindship/romantic relationship
  • trauma or abuse
  • natural distaster
  • pregnancy or pregnancy 'scare'
  • sexually transmitted disease treatment need