It is not easy being a teen, but it is an important part in our development towards healthy adulthood. Some young people really wrestle with their identity and establishing boundaries with family or friends. Some ask ‘how do we make sense of our friend’s choices and all the pain we have been through or see around us’?
Some young people struggle with depression and anxiety. Often when we don’t have a vision, a goal to work towards or a direction to channel our energy, we get bored and down. Sometimes the effort to do anything seems boring, but staying where we are makes us more down.
We may be hiding from the world, afraid or pretending we have it all together when in fact we are crying out on the inside.
It can really help to just be able to sit with someone and talk about all these things.
Ongoing counselling generally commences with one-on-one sessions. The number and frequency of sessions however, can vary widely depending on the issue. Coaching and self-development is often the foundation of work with teens. Many young people tend to place significant levels of importance on the judgments and opinions of others – in other words, they tend to worry about what other people think.
Helping teens to develop a strong sense of self, to build self-esteem, to start to explore their self-identity and to identify their values are important steps in the counselling process with adolescents.
Counselling for teens can help with:
Developing an increased sense of self-worth and self-confidence
Developing skills to reduce stress or anxiety
Making positive choices for the future
Improving communication and social skills
Engaging with school and life
Empowering teens in response to peer pressure
Improving relationships within the family
Working through powerful or confusing emotions
Things we do
Worksheets, role-plays, games, discussions, active learning and problem solving activities may be used to help explore and manage difficulties. Coping and emotional management strategies may be taught and practiced, cognitive strategies may be used to address unhelpful thoughts (such as negative self-talk), and specific scenarios acted out to learn how to problem solve and self-manage any negative behaviours.
Confidentiality and counselling
All counselling is confidential. Teens need to have a private ‘space’ where they can freely express their thoughts and ideas without the presence or judgement of parents or friends. Information will only be revealed to others with client consent. If parents have given permission (verbal or written) to talk with a third party, such as a GP or school, the psychologist can discuss any relevant issues with them; again with the teenagers’ consent.
In unusual circumstances where failure to disclose information may result in clear risk to the client or to others, the psychologist may disclose minimal information necessary to avert risk. In this serious case, the parents or caregiver will be notified immediately and given an action plan. Furthermore, counselling information may also be disclosed if required or authorised by law. At iPsychology we do this with the teen present as the therapeutic relationship is of upmost importance.