Dr. Lisa Bravo aka “teen whisperer” is a highly acclaimed psychotherapist, speaker, author, and teacher. She holds a doctoral degree in behavioral health from Arizona State University and maintains a thriving practice in Scottsdale, Arizona, as an expert in family dynamics and adolescent behavior. When she’s not providing counseling to families, Dr. Bravo spends her time training the next generation of counselors, most recently through the graduate counseling program at Arizona State University. She is a regular consultant to various media and news outlets, academic institutions, and behavioral health organizations across the country. She is also the author of the 2021 book,The Bravo Effect: Strategies for Parenting Extreme Teens.
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David Van Nuys, PhD
Host: Shrink Rap Radio
I recently met a teenager as he was trespassing his dirt bike around the gate of our gated community. I asked him if he owned a property here or a piece of land, to which he responded that he doesn't care about owning anything as all he sees is just dirt and he just wants to have a good time on it. So discussed the topic of private property and asked him how he would feel should some stranger invade the property where he lives. He then told me that he lives on the street, which was of course a lie, he just wanted to be rebellious in his opinion. I told him that I understood his point and that from a certain perspective he is correct. So I asked him if one side of the property is enough for him to ride around on, to which he agreed. I asked him to just stay away from the houses as they would most likely object. The interaction surprised him. He didn't think that I would agree with him to some degree. He then said that he doesn't have to ride around here and that he would leave if I wanted him to. I saw that he was actually more open and agreeable than many of the adults I speak with. He rode for about 5 minutes and then left.
From a Jungian perspective we know that "natural man" is in rebellion against the inhuman life or the onesided life we have forced upon ourselves. Teenagers in many ways are more like the natural man, no wonder they are rebelling. It may be the adult of current society who may be the extreme one in this equation. Ho many people are able to carry a relationship or have a family or feel a deep sense of cosmogonic bliss. How can we expect for our children to follow us into a cave when they see that the cave is full of rattle snakes?
Imagine the "extreme teens" they must have had in the 11th and 12th century when sects sprang up like mushrooms. Joan of Arc was 19 when she was burned at the stake, was she an extreme teen?