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Frequently Asked Questions

Looking at hiring someone to help with your child’s wellbeing can bring forward a lot of questions. We’ve done our best to answer the most common ones here. The best way to get specific questions about your child answered is to book a call with Dr. Myka.

What is life coaching?

Life coaching is both a relationship and a process of self-discovery. A life coach acts as a supportive guide and partner, providing strategies to help clients navigate life’s challenges and unlock their full potential. Life coaching helping people achieve their goals by providing them with support, guidance, and accountability.

Isn’t life coaching more for adults? How can my teen benefit from this relationship?

Think of habits, challenges, relationships, decisions, and goals you set for yourself growing up. Some you were confident with, but I’m guessing–like most of us in adolescence–the majority happened in a cloud of self-doubt, confusion, hesitation, and maybe even some tears.

What if you’d had someone right by your side who could help you >do the following:

  • Identify values-based goals
  • Develop self-awareness
  • Overcome challenges
  • Improve relationships with family, friends, teachers
  • Make decisions and work through the rewards and consequences

And, what if this person wasn’t a parent or a teacher, but was an additional person who knew you whose sole goal was to help you thrive during some of the hardest years of life?

Should my teen get coaching with Teen Forward or therapy with a licensed therapist?

Your teen should work with a therapist if:

  • Medication is involved in their mental health and/or they need a formal diagnosis
  • Any of the following are present:
    • Past traumas that need resolution
    • Active or passive suicide ideation
    • Addiction (drug, alcohol, screens, games)
    • Need for formal licensed documentation to satisfy IEP-504 requirements

Your teen should work with Teen Forward if:

  • They are working with a therapist and want to stay caught up/ahead with their peers socially, emotionally, and academically
  • Your teen struggles with time management, performance anxiety, self-esteem, relationships, goal-setting, future projecting, family dynamics
  • Your teen is reluctant to try therapy or struggles with healing that needs to take place

*Note: Teen Forward encourages a teen to work with both a therapist and us. We are able to complement the work a therapist is doing with your teen and help them practice therapeutic skills. Additionally, we help teens learn how to language and voice their feelings and experiences so that therapy is efficient and successful.

How can I help my teen get the most out of their life coaching experience?

There are a few things you can do to help your teen get the most out of their life coaching experience:

  • Be supportive. Let your teen know that you support their decision to work with a life coach.
  • Be open-minded. Be willing to listen to your teen’s feedback about the coaching process.
  • Respect your teen’s privacy. Don’t ask your teen about their coaching sessions unless they want to share.
  • Encourage your teen to be an active participant in the coaching process

What is your coaching style?

Dr. Myka uses a proprietary style that is values-based and focuses on five areas key to a teen’s development: awareness, alignment, agency, resilience, and action. Sessions include a combination of talk/discussion, projects/art, movement, and reflection.

How long have you been working with teens?

The founder of Teen Forward, Dr. Myka Hanson, has worked with teens and young adults for over twenty-five years as a high school teacher and coach in a variety of capacities. Additionally, she has worked with teens as a yoga instructor, as a dream worker, and as a mentor.

What are your areas of expertise?

Dr. Myka’s expertise falls into the buckets of education, psychology, and movement. She graduated from St. Olaf College with a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. She earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities in Special Education (Learning Disabilities and Emotional/Behavioral Disorders). She earned a Master’s Degree and her Doctoral Degree in Psychology and Somatic Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. She has certifications in Dream Tending (under Dr. Stephen Aizenstat) and Cognitive Coaching, as well as a teaching certificate from CorePower Yoga.

How often will my teen meet with you?

Teen Forward has a number of options for teens to meet one-to-one with Dr. Myka. Additionally, Teen Forward offers a group component where teens have the opportunity to ask questions, share wins, and witness other teens’ experiences with Dr. Myka present. The various options and schedules will discussed around your specific teen’s experiences to find the best fit for your teen.

Will I be able to attend the sessions?

Parents are not able to attend teen sessions. Because life coaching focuses on the teen’s goals, values, and identity, you are encouraged to invite your teen to share with you to the level that they are comfortable.

If I can’t attend the sessions, how do I know what’s happening with my teen?

Parents are an integral part of the Teen Forward experience. You will have access to Dr. Myka via email, Slack, and text message for specific questions about your teen and their experience. Additionally, your teen will be learning skills and strategies to communicate with you proactively.

Do you have coaching for parents?

Yes! Family Forward is a specific program for parents who have enrolled their teens in either of Teen Forward’s flagship programs, Teen Reset or Teen Premier. Family Forward is the opportunity for you to connect in a group setting with Dr. Myka and other parents to discuss parent issues and ask questions. Once a month, teens and parents will gather together virtually to participate in a skill-building workshop together to practice what everyone is learning! You can find out more information about Family Forward here.

What if I'm not happy with the coaching?

If you find that the coaching relationship isn’t meeting your teen’s needs, or if you are finding that your teen has more intense mental health needs than would fit under the umbrella of mental health, we can write certain stipulations into the contract to protect your investment. Because it does take time to see results from working with a life coach, no refunds are possible until at least 6 months of work has been completed.

How will I know if my teen is struggling?

It can sometimes be difficult to see if your teen is struggling or just going through some of the obstacles common in adolescence. Teens are individuals and each day their bodies, minds, and coping strategies are changing and adapting. It’s not as easy as saying “if your teen becomes withdrawn” or “if your teen has always been open with you and they suddenly stop.” Nor can we say that “teens are just adults in smaller bodies.”

If your teen is struggling, it’s likely that they are telling you that’s the case; you just might not be understanding the language they’re using to communicate. The best way to know if your teen is struggling is to, first, ask them. You can also notice if they are engaging in behaviors that go against the values of your family beyond curiosity or exploration. Finally, if your teen is experimenting with drugs, alcohol, or self-harming behaviors like cutting, suicide ideation, or eating disorders, you can clearly know your teen is struggling and needs immediate intervention.

What are the consequences of untreated mental wellness issues?

The consequences of untreated mental wellness issues are dire. They can be life-altering, or even life-ending. The most permanent consequence of untreated mental wellness issues is death by suicide.

Even if suicide ideation isn’t an issue for your teen, mental health is still an important aspect of their development. Without conscious positive mental health strategies, your teen may develop maladaptive coping strategies such as drug or alcohol addiction, eating disordered behavior, unsafe sexual behaviors, or violence. These coping strategies turn into habits over time, so even if the mental health condition is treated, the habits remain and turn into destructive habits.