Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Lennis G. Echterling

Eric W. Cowan

Anne L. Stewart


Cognitive and developmental differences between teenagers and adults must be overcome to ensure a level playing field in the process of counseling. Exploring the developmental factors involved, and discussing associated treatment interventions can help the counselor close this gap by improving client adherence to treatment and outcomes. This paper consists of a review of the current literature in neuropsychology, neuroscience, cognitive linguistics and counseling, as it relates to brain and cognitive developments in adolescence. These findings are referenced to show the many developmental changes that occur in adolescence, and how those changes can be a hindrance to successful participation in traditional psychotherapy. Because those changes determine client’s behaviors as well as dimensions of mental functioning, it would be important for counselors and other mental health practitioners to consider alternative and non-traditional models of treatment. For this reason, this paper concludes with a section on clinical applications and treatment strategies that take into account the factors mentioned above, and offer approaches that seem more appropriate when working with adolescent clients.