Teenagers are faced with a huge number of challenges during this period in their lives. Research has shown that their brains are developing and changing at an immense rate so it is hardly surprising that, at times, they feel confused, disorganised and exhausted. Coupled with hormonal changes and the stresses of breaking away from the role of a dependent child and becoming an independent adult, this is a time when many teenagers struggle and need a little extra help. Counselling can offer them the opportunity to talk to someone who is independent and non-judgemental and who can help them make sense of their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Some of the common things we see in teenagers are:
Bullying, including cyber-bullying: Counselling can help them to be more assertive and improve their confidence.
Low self-esteem: The desire for a teenager to ‘fit in’ is very strong. If they feel they are not ‘good enough’ this can lead to a lack of confidence, which in turn can lead to social phobias, depression, anxiety and isolation. Counselling can help them to feel more valued as a person and develop their sense of self-worth.
Self-harm/addictions: Self-harming and addictive behaviour can be very frightening for parents of the teenager. These behaviours are usually a way of relieving psychological pain or distress. By working with the young person, counselling can help them to work through their pain and find other, less harmful, ways of dealing with stress.
Anxiety: Exams cause a huge amount of anxiety and stress. Relationships are another source of stress in teenagers, whether it is coping with issues amongst their friends, parents or boyfriends/girlfriends. The whole issue of sexuality can be a minefield at this age. Counselling gives them a confidential space to talk about their anxieties and work out how to deal with relationship problems in a positive way. It can also offer practical ways to deal with anxiety and panic attacks.
Eating Disorders: Often, eating disorders occur when a young person feels out of control of other areas of their life. A counsellor would work with the young person to empower them to take back some control of other areas of their life, apart from food, and build their self-esteem.
Working with teenagers is different from working with adults. At The Eaves, those who work with teenagers have experience and understanding of teenage issues and how best to get alongside them and work with them. Listening and being non-judgemental is key. Parents may want to know what is disclosed in sessions, but maintaining strict confidentiality is essential to building trust with the young person. We do understand that as a parent this can be frustrating at times, but we would inform you if we had serious concerns.