The word “adolescence” often conjures up adjectives reflective of G. Stanley Hall’s 1904 definition of a period characterized by “storm and stress.”

Looking through that lens, adolescents can get described as moody, rebellious and oppositional. Our mindset can take a negative shift, focusing mostly on consequences, such as depression/suicide and sexually transmitted infections. While such a focus is needed for the prevention and treatment of diseases, its limited scope prevents us from seeing possibilities.

Beth Auslander, Ph.D., is the mental health director for the Teen Health Center in Galveston.

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