Adolescence is a stage that involves the transition from childhood to adulthood, in which considerable physical and mental changes take place. It usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 19 years. Physical change that occurs during this time is known as puberty. Because of puberty, teenagers may often feel over-sensitive and lack self-confidence as they come to terms with the changes they are going through. Mood swings and shyness are some of the most common features associated with adolescence. It is a period of vulnerability for the teenager, which requires support and understanding.
Teenagers often find their independence by making friends and widening their social circle. As they begin to carve out an identity, they become more susceptible to their friend’s influences. In general this is a healthy process that enables the teenager to find a niche outside of the family environment. But occasionally peer pressure may lead to situations that need parental or professional guidance.
Adolescent counselling is intended to help adolescents make sense of their feelings and behaviour. Approaches such as family therapy provide both parent and teenager with the chance of exploring their relationship and voicing their feelings in a supportive environment.
Older children may prefer talking therapy, and the counselling approach will depend on a particular individual. Although different methods may be used for counselling adolescents, the aim of counselling for both teens and adults is ultimately the same; to help the individual cope better with their emotions and feelings.
Counselling young people involves helping them to develop a positive attitude to life, recognize their strengths and express themselves. It does not involve making decisions for the teen, imposing beliefs on them or preaching. Counselling may be provided to young people on their own, or it may be provided to a teen as part of a family (family counselling).
Some of common issues counselling and therapy may help adolescents are:
- Learning & School Adjustment
- Identity issues
- Self and Body image
- Emotional wellness
- Social Functioning
- Teen-parent conflict
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Low Self-esteem and lack of confidence
- Self-Injury (e.g. cutting)
- Dating and Relationship issues