Counselling For Teenagers - Years 10 & 11
Without any doubt this can be a confusing time for young people. No longer a tween, they are becoming aware of the responsibility and uncertainty "choice" will bring. Creating and breaking friendship groups can be an emotional rollercoaster for young people. Trying to create their own boundaries and acceptable ways of doing things can cause confusion, angst & anxiety not only for young people but their families also.
Transitioning through the teenage years (moving from one stage of life to another) is not a isolated event - if affects the whole family, the dynamics of the family. It helps if the issues the young person is facing has the support of their family. This gives the young person much needed (perhaps not always wanted) support. Teenagers need much patience and understanding around them in such cases (this can be testing for family I appreciate). Family relationships evolve and develop as the young person looks to have independence. This can be a tough, yet exciting time working out - what these "updated relationships" will be.
With the opportunities young people have due to technology - there is a considerable flip side also. Life before the internet for example, homework if we weren't able to understand it - we just went into school saying we couldn't do it (O.K we might have felt a little fearful). These days young people are expected to find a way to solve problems, complete homework. Just ask google, watch a youtube video or log into the many online resources available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Or just email your teacher. It seems we are expecting from our young people to keep going until they can solve the problem. When do we say stop?
The added pressure of picking GCSE subjects and their first exams leading to life qualifications can bring about stress, anxiety or depression. These emotions can manifest in behaviour such as sadness, isolation, withdrawal, anger, arguing or risky behaviour patterns such as substance use/ abuse, obsessive gaming, unsafe intimacy or eating disorders.
How Can Counselling Help?
Counselling either individual or group work can help young people get clarity and give them some space to work out how they feel. Offering a safe space to vent emotions, understand their emotions and understand themselves better. To build a stronger relationship with themselves and to help build healthy relationships and patterns. To learn to communicate better. Through my experience many young people are reluctant to start therapy often using words such as - "cringey" or "weird" to describe therapy. Who can blame them really? Sitting talking to a stranger can feel pretty scary. Getting a young person to learn to communicate their emotions & thoughts with clarity takes patience & practice & does not happen overnight.
Working with young people I use a number of creative mediums in the therapy process. My hope to empower them. My aim is to make therapy engaging, creative and uplifting. Talking for some young people can be hard work. Often I use creative activities such as sandplay, timelines, Russian dolls, emoji cards, or we may observe my pet stick insect Pi .... and before long they are chatting away through their own free will.
Working With Young People
I am DBS checked. Some times parents will ask me to discuss with them what has been said in a session or contact me to discuss privately. I understand often this is through concern and care. However I do not disclose what young people discuss with me in their sessions unless I feel what they are telling me may harm them or someone around them. Then I will discuss with my supervisor and the young person before taking action. Or if I have their consent. I believe the trust a young person puts into me is not to be negotiated. It is my belief the therapeutic relationship is a model for other relationships in their lives hence should be respected by all parties concerned.
Issues I have experience of working with young people:
- low confidence
- Culture/ Religion
- parents separating/ divorcing
- non-traditional family structures
- self harm
- eating disorders
- staying safe
- learning difficulties
- feeling lonely
- substance use & abuse
- improving commuincation
- family conflict
- sibling rivalry
- friendship breakdown
- social media
- school issues
- social privilege
- feeling sad
- boarding school
- separation anxiety
- accepting boundaries
- learning to negogiate