“The major innovations in art, music, technology and science come from adolescent minds,” says psychiatrist and bestselling author Dan Siegel. There’s only one problem, he adds. As adults, we’re constantly trying to create routine and order that, while providing direction and safety for our children, also undermines their creativity.

In this video clip from Siegel’s unforgettable 2014 Networker Symposium address, “Unwrapping the Gift of the Adolescent Brain,” he debunks some of the common myths surrounding adolescent brains and behavior.

Often, kids’ or teens’  loud, boisterous behavior is chalked up to “raging hormones” or “immaturity.” But learning about the adolescent brain and how it functions could mean the difference between bolstering your young clients’ creativity and productivity, or losing their respect and attention altogether.

“We as a psychotherapy community have the potential to change the cultural conversation around adolescence,” Siegel says. What’s more, he adds, is changing our attitudes toward adolescent behavior can help us rekindle the passion and creativity that eludes many of us later in life.

Dan Siegel

Longtime Psychotherapy Networker contributor Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, founding co-director of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, founding co-investigator at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain and Development, and executive director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational center devoted to promoting insight, compassion, and empathy in individuals, families, institutions, and communities. Dr. Siegel’s psychotherapy practice spans thirty years, and he has published extensively for the professional audience. He serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which includes over 70 textbooks.