Counseling Adolescents With Problem Pregnancies

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American Psychologist


According to current estimates, 40% of young women will get pregnant while they are teenagers. Most teenage pregnancies are unintended, and thus, they often precipitate a personal crisis. This article discusses the psychosocial context of such pregnancies, including emotional and cognitive development during adolescence, family and peer relations, and norms for gender-appropriate sexual expression. In counseling teenagers with problem pregnancies, the main goal is to help clients reach and implement an informed and fully integrated decision about the pregnancy. Ethical conflicts arise when counselors impose their religious or moral beliefs on their clients, or when the confidentiality and privacy of the counseling relationship is limited by an external authority. In addition, it may sometimes be difficult to reconcile clients' right to self-determination with the responsibility to promote their best interests. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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