Adolescent counselling is aimed at helping young people make sense of their feelings, thoughts and behaviours. This can entail traditional talking therapy, or can use other techniques which draw on the expressive nature of young people- such as art therapy. These proactive and creative strategies can help an adolescent to thrive in a counselling environment.
Unfortunately about 4 in 10 teenagers become seriously depressed each year. That alone is a shocking figure, but in light of developmental changes and the numerous pressures on young people, those affected and in need of therapy can be much higher, hence the need for counselling aimed towards adolescents.
Who is an adolescent?
Adolescence is the stage when we make the transition from child to adult, this usually occurs between 10 and 19. This is a time which a great deal of both physical and mental changes take place, the physical changes often referred to as puberty. These changes may predispose adolescents to be sensitive, to experience mood swings and to have swings in confidence levels. For this reason, Adolescent counselling should ensure that they take into account this period of vulnerability when engaging in therapy with an adolescent.
Hazards of adolescence?
Growing up is characterised by new experiences. How much of a hazard can they be? Obviously this varies on the individual, but it is a time when young people find new friends, peer pressure comes truly into play and young people may first be exposed to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. With all this temptation comes responsibility and it is the combination of the two which may cause anxiety and turbulence when going through puberty – all issues which can be explored through therapy.
When to get help:
If you are a young person and feel sad most of the time and this is affecting your work at school, relationships with friends or family, or you feel like your just not being you then you should really talk to someone. The same applies if you are feeling worried about your drug or alcohol use, social circle or any other pressures.
Where to turn:
Accepting you need help is a first step, telling someone is the next and getting help today couldn’t be easier. You could speak to a parent, carer, teacher, school nurse, your GP or a trusted adult – they will then help you to take the next steps. If they don’t, tell someone else, trust your instincts that you feel down and require assistance.
In summary, don’t believe that feeling depressed is a ‘normal’ side of growing up. Anything that interferes with your everyday life in a negative way should be tackled and your mental health should be included in this. Finally talking about your depression will simply not make it worse, so make sure you take the big step and ask for help as soon as you can.