Today’s teenagers are looking for therapists who can help them out of the innumerable rabbit holes cluttering the landscape of adolescence and young adulthood. It can’t be a lecture about social media or the dangers of smoking weed. It can’t be a verbal version of a power point slide show listing all the risks of losing oneself in a virtual world. People don’t miss what they never had or never felt. We can’t expect teenagers to appreciate what it would be like — what they would be like — if they were more interested in their capacities for imagination and inventiveness and the reverence that being in the natural world can bring forth. No wonder their eyes glaze over when we start yakking about the good old days, before electronics took over.

I think that one of the best things we can do to help is to offer a relationship and an ongoing conversation that is compelling enough to a teenage clients that he or she keeps coming back for more — not because we promise to resolve a problem they’re having with peers or their parents, not because we are helping them uncover the reasons behind their depression, not because we are helping them overcome what has been a debilitating degree of anxiety, but because the relationship itself and the conversation itself feel extraordinarily rich and satisfying and uplifting, reinforcing the pleasure that comes from a genuine connection with another and from natural sources that have nothing to do with views or likes or the numbing that comes from the unabating intrusion of things the importance of which evaporates by day’s end.

— Janet Sasson Edgette