Jenni Ogden, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and author of Trouble in Mind, taught at the University of Auckland. Shared by ISPA member Kerry Bailey

In this great article, Jenni Ogden discusses what happens within a teenagers brain in their final years towards maturity, and how this impacts on their ability to make informed, well considered decisions.

Any parent of teenagers or young adults up to the age of about 25 years old, knows that many of their decisions are not informed and are certainly not well considered.

As Jenni writes “Neuropsychologists and parenting advisors (at least those who have a knowledge of neuropsychology) often try and calm parents down when they are pulling their hair out over their teens’ rude, moody, disorganized, risk-taking, impulsive behaviors. The frontal lobes (or more correctly, the prefrontal lobes) of the teenage brain, they tell the parents, are still developing. By the age of twenty to twenty-five, the frontal lobes will be fully mature and the impossible teenager will morph into a normal person—a fully functional, socially well-adapted adult.”

She explains how the development of neurons, amount of myelination around the nerve and what happens in the spaces between the neurons in the frontal lobe all contribute to teens ability to make decisions.

We need to remember that making the complex and often challenging decisions demanded in adulthood requires more abstract and higher level skills. This is of course even more applicable to decisions taken to try drugs and alcohol. Not to mention the decisions taken once drunk or high.

We recommend this article to therapists as its straightforward language, and easy to understand way of writing helps us to consider the role hypnosis and therapy can have on the further development of those frontal lobe neurons needed to make better considered decisions.

The article can be found here

Published by Psychology Today, 18 December 2011

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