Relationships, Identity, Sexuality, Empowerment

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Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Dr. Sasso’s passion for working with adolescents stems from her earlier career working as a high school English teacher. During her time teaching, Dr. Sasso was able to view firsthand many of the unique stressors and challenges facing adolescents; including social and interpersonal challenges, academic pressures, body image, peer pressure, family conflict, sexual and relationship challenges, and identity exploration. Dr. Sasso understands adolescent development, roles, and identity. She has been in the trenches, in the school setting, where adolescents spend most of their time.

Dr. Sasso felt she, personally, could have a greater impact on adolescents and adults by becoming trained as a psychologist. However, she carries with her an understanding of school organizational dynamics and academic systems and structures. Having taught SAT courses, edited college essays, and written recommendations, Dr. Sasso understands the college application process and both the emotional and logistical challenges of this time.

Having navigated school systems both as a teacher and advocate for clients, Dr. Sasso is able to work in conjunction with teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators. Dr. Sasso can assist your family in managing school-related difficulties such as academic problems, bullying, and issues related to gender transition and/or coming out.  Dr. Sasso specializes in treating adolescents and emerging adults with diverse sex and gender identities or who are exploring their identities.

Emerging Adults
Young adults in their early twenties face many realities unique to their generation. They are entering the workforce during an economic crisis, and are often more dependent on parental support than older generations. This creates unique challenges at a time when, developmentally, individuals are struggling to separate from family and become independent. This generation of young adults are also more diverse in many ways than any prior generation. They are increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, and increasingly mixed race and mixed ethnic. Additionally, young adults have a more fluid understanding of gender and sexuality than the larger culture.

For these reasons and others, young adults may need extra support when entering the adult world. They may need a place where they can explore their own identities and create a strong, independent self despite still depending on family. They may be struggling with entering the larger culture and recognizing for the first time racial, sexual, or religious prejudices they did not experience from their peers. They may be wrestling with how to straddle the youth culture in which they grew up and the larger culture as a whole, and how to establish themselves as adults.  Dr. Sasso is experienced with and passionate about working with emerging adults. Because of her interest in and advocacy for diverse populations, Dr. Sasso frequently interfaces with young people who are engaged in advocacy and education. Dr. Sasso makes it a point to be aware of and well-versed in cultural changes that are happening at a grass-roots level among young adults. In many ways, this generation is leading efforts to expand civil rights, expand gender roles, promote gender egalitarian attitudes, and promote racial acceptance and more nuanced understandings of identity on all levels.

Sex and Gender Diverse Adolescents and Emerging Adults
Adolescence and early adulthood is a turbulent time of transition and identity confusion and ultimately, identity development, for most teens. However, for teens of diverse gender identities or with non-straight sexual orientations, these challenges can be compounded. Body image concerns, bullying, feelings of not fitting in, worries about family acceptance, and many other issues can be heightened for these particularly vulnerable adolescents. Dr. Sasso strives to provide a safe space where adolescents can explore diverse identities with someone who “gets it.”

Adolescents and young people view sexuality and gender in different and diverse ways compared to older clients, and Dr. Sasso understands the terminology and viewpoints of these age groups. She can hit the ground running with clients by speaking their language and for those clients who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, Dr. Sasso is trained to address the unique challenges of social and/or medical transitions. Dr. Sasso will also work with families to facilitate communication with adolescents and help family members respond when a child comes out or decides to begin a transition process. Dr. Sasso can help mobilize community and other resources and be an advocate at school if need be.