What results can we expect from working with you and in what time frame?
So long as we are given the proper context and opportunities to work together:
• Your son or daughter will be more confident, secure and balanced.
• Rather than endlessly being on a roller coaster fed by and reacting to what happened that day at school or in the world around them, they will operate from their own center, be more in control of their reactions and will stay positive and solutions oriented, even when logic and reason says they shouldn’t be.
• They will stop taking things personally that aren’t.
•They will develop more adept social skills, and in time, will become uncompromising in regards to who they associate with and befriend.
• They will grow into the rare young adults who know what they want and who have the capacity, character and discipline to stay the course, persevere through set backs, rise above challenges and emerge as the extraordinary people they have always had the capacity to be.
These are the kinds of things you will notice emerging in the first two to six months we work together”
• You will begin noticing changes almost immediately – especially them being more positive, lighter, more hopeful and easier to be with more of the time.
• You will notice them beginning to consistently react differently to stimulus that used to set them off.
• They’ll begin to hold more of a commanding presence, while simultaneously emanating that indescribable something that those who are truly comfortable in their own skin seem to possess.
The rest takes time. As life unfolds and the challenges they face become more adult and sophisticated, so does the learning. Thus I remain in many clients lives for many years, even if just for the occasional phone conversation to help them reset, give them some suggestions and build their capacity to handle situations like this in the future.
What age teens do you work with?
My clients range in age from 13 – 31 – anyone on the continuum of the journey from childhood to adulthood. Due to the extensive commitment I make to build and maintain the relationships with my clients, I am selective about who I work with, having learned through experience that the right match is critical for my approach to work.
What makes a client the “right match”?
My work is highly values driven, and thus the families I work best with are aligned with and in agreement with my values.
They also must be families who are ready to make the commitment to stay with the work to see it through to results.
I do an extensive initial phone consultation (often an hour or more), plus an initial meeting with parents and their teen that often lasts up to two hours. I do not charge for any of the initial intake work. We must all decide together that this is the right approach for the teen and family, and that we can agree to set this up so that I can be effective the way that I work.
Why should I use Mentoring when my teen is struggling, especially when conventional wisdom says I should seek counseling?
25 years of experiences working with youth has taught me that the vast majority of teens and young adults are not mentally ill nor do they have a psychological disorder. When they are struggling, it is due to feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of life, the pressure they experience and the stress this generates.
Rather than offer them psychological treatment, I offer them a very sophisticated, customized education in life. Equipped with the tools, perspective and training they receive, things that once caused them stress no longer do… things that were once problems are now easily solved…
Because learning life skills is more than just a ‘left brain’ memorization process, I teach them through engaging dialogue, metaphoric story telling, modeling and guidance that can, at times, be very challenging guidance. Many clients have sought advice from me over the years only to get quiet when I respond… then to say something like “I don’t like what you are saying, but I know it is what I need to hear.”
Traditionally cultures always asked elders to take responsibility to step in as other’s youth were on the cusp of the transition to adulthood. Their task was to initiate, train and mentor them in the essential tools and lessons they needed to become invaluable, contributing members to society. This was especially critical to offer during the adolescent yard when a teen is most likely to reject words from parents (Right words. Wrong source!).
For countless reasons, modern culture has turned its back on this sacred and critical responsibility, leaving countless teens to struggle through years of trials and tribulations, setbacks and frustrations – often at high risk and mostly unnecessary.
Rather than having a close knit relationship with a trusted adult advisor from whom they can benefit from the elder’s years of learning and experience, they fend for themselves, often believing that figuring things out for themselves is how it is supposed to be.
The evidence of my 20+ years of working this way is that teens not only find value in the mentoring approach I take, they hunger for it. They feel respected, valued, known and empowered.
How much do you charge?
Most clients hire me on a monthly retainer though on occasion I do work by the session. My clients receive tremendous value and time from me, which include three ‘face to face’ (or phone if not local) appointments per month. This individual, in-person time is critical to building the rapport and the calibre of relationship that allows for the greatest impact of this work to happen.
All my fees include my availability to parents for phone consultation as needed. They also include my availability to answer phone calls, texts, IM’s, emails from my clients – and the older they get, the more they take advantage of this. There is extraordinary value in my being available to my clients in this way. Some of the most profound work I’ve done happened when I answered a call from them when they were in the midst of a crisis. Fees range from $550 for a small group day to $1800/month. [Note: Crisis Intervention is $3500/month]
Once the relationship is well established and the initial training in the mindset and skill set is integrated, the monthly retainer may decrease. Long term clients may inquire about this.
All Monthly Fees include a guarantee of no less than(and typically more than) three scheduled appointments per month in person or over the phone, skype, etc. Appointments typically last 45 minutes to an hour, though sometimes they can be much longer. Fees also include my availability to clients spontaneously as needed and as things come up, though these unscheduled meetings are typically much shorter. When working with families, fees also include any extra conversations or sessions with parents. Any request for an unscheduled impromptu conversation or meeting will be responded to promptly, typically within an hour so long as conditions permit.
Why do you charge monthly instead of hourly?
To get extraordinary results means doing things in unconventional, non-ordinary ways. 23+ years of doing this work with teens has shown me again and again what it takes – and it takes far more than establishing a clinical relationship with them and operating from a clinical model.
You are hiring me to get results… Results that come through the experience of having the relationship with me and through learning what I have to teach.
This is a totally different paradigm than what most conventional practitioners use.
This is a model that the elite coaches and consultants use in the business world – you are paying me quite literally, to be in your son or daughter’s life in a meaningful way, to give them the continual input and modeling of a way of life that is positive and secure, and leads to them becoming confident, centered, mature, adept young adults. You are also hiring me to be available to offer my support and guidance as life comes up, again quite literally, to be there to answer the phone at 10pm after a fight with a girlfriend, or 11am after a tough disappointment in school or any of countless other things my clients call, text and IM me about. You are also hiring me to establish a relationship with your teen when, in a moment of critical concern, I will become one of the people they will turn to for guidance.
I have extraordinary skill at building these meaningful relationships with most teens. It is a combination of a gift I was born with and many years of learning and practice. Often parents who thought their teen would never ‘buy in’ are amazed at how quickly they do. Not only do they respond to my ability to speak a language that makes sense to them and to provide practical value, they also respond to the authenticity of my character and my intent.
I remember one 15 year old girl who called me in tears at 9:45pm on a weeknight shortly after we had met, telling her mom the next day “Jeff’s legit. He actually really cares.” That’s how your teen will feel too – and they should, because I do. For her, knowing she had someone who was the real deal in her life who also had the skill to help her with situations like this, made a huge impact on her growth through her teen years into the strong, confident young woman she is today.
It has done the same for many others – and it can for your teen too.
Some months we spend a few hours together, some a few minutes, some a few days… This is about RESULTS.
So while we build the relationship through the time we spend together, the time we talk on the phone, exchange messages etc, once the relationship is well established and your teen has received the solid grounding in their own ability to sustain the way of life I can offer, the time we spend together tends to diminish simply because they don’t need me like they did in the beginning. For some clients this is in a year, for some just a few months. For all, when the amount of time and energy they need from me and that I have to put in decreases, so does the fee I charge.
Do you take insurance?
I am happy to offer you an invoice that you can submit, however being that I am not a doctor nor do I offer psychotherapy, most insurance does not cover my services.
Where are your offices?
I have an office in Mill Valley, California (15 minutes from San Francisco) near Tam High School. I also make bi-monthly trips to New York to meet with my clients there, and often these meetings wind up happening monthly. I make two to three trips a year to London to run programs and see clients as well. Depending on location, many people either come to me or we meet in your part of the country.
Due to the nature of the Mentoring relationship, a considerable amount of the work we do is on skype and over the phone. Because of this, locations is not relevant. One of my longest standing clients is someone I haven’t seen in person in over 5 years. We talk weekly.
Do you treat teens with psychological and/or emotional disorders?
I DO NOT OFFER TREATMENT OF ANY KIND. What I offer is educational in nature, not psychological treatment. You will be required to sign an extensive waiver acknowledging your understanding of this if you choose to work with me.
When what I do proves effective for kids who might have been diagnosed by a past clinician it is either because the person is now stable and thus I can work with them, or that they never should have been diagnosed with an illness in the first place. Either way, I will NOT work with someone who has unaddressed substance abuse issues, someone who is currently in traditional psychanalytic psychotherapy (other forms are okay) or someone whom I feel needs a kind of help I simply do not provide.
I work with plenty of kids who are on meds for things like ADD and ADHD, so long as they are stable and you understand I am not offering further treatment of any kind.