A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Action Oriented Therapy is closely related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is classified as a goal-oriented treatment approach.  Teen Action Oriented Therapy, however, is even more specifically focused on finding practical solutions to address a number of different symptoms and conflicts related to Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders.  The thinking behind this treatment approach is that while it’s important to engage teens in talk therapy sessions and for them to gain insight into themselves, teens need to then be able to take the healthy, restorative actions necessary in order to ensure they benefit from, and succeed with, their treatment goals.  As a larger category of treatment approach itself, Action Oriented Therapies can also refer to different treatment approaches that have actions (or behaviors or goals) as the focus.


The approach of Teen Action Oriented Therapy can be very useful in that sometimes it can be less overwhelming for adolescents to concentrate on a single goal at hand, and work consciously toward achieving and/or altering that goal, as opposed to focusing on more subtle characteristics of their inner experience.  Of course the first stages of Teen Action Oriented Therapy are still dedicated to helping teens to address their feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, and to uncover what thought patterns might be present that are causing negative effects.  Therapists work with teens to help them discover where their thoughts and feelings are coming from, and from this, determine what behaviors the teens can take to overcome or alter their own experience.  Therefore, though knowledge and insight into themselves is crucial to the process, the teens’ focus can rightly shift to the behavior goals that they come up with, along with the help of their therapist.


Teen Action Oriented Therapy has many similarities to Teen Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is why some consider it to be a subset thereof.  Teen Action Oriented Therapy sessions tend to be more structured than some talk-based therapy sessions, as the therapists and teens work together to identify and discuss the goals at hand in a very specific manner. The goals may include a great number of different small changes, including both aspects of ceasing or decreasing negative activities, as well as adding and incorporation of healthy activities, all toward the overall goal of decreasing the negative symptoms that the teens are experiencing.


Teen Action Oriented Therapy has been shown to be extremely helpful in treating teens for a number of different Substance Abuse and Mental Health related struggles, including but not limited to: Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Eating Disorders, and Bipolar Disorder.  At Paradigm, we incorporate aspects of Teen Action Oriented Therapy alongside a number of other approaches and techniques, in order to create the most holistic and thorough treatment plan possible, for every teen that comes in our doors.