Adolescence is the transitional time between the ages of 12 years and 25 years, when both physical and psychological development raise issues of identity and independence. Adolescents sometimes struggle to cope with these fundamental changes and these struggles can manifest themselves in anxiety, self harm, negative body image, low self esteem, confusion and frustration etc. Although they are struggling to become independent they also often recognise, and can be resentful of, their continuing need to be cared for and contained by their parents/carers. This can be a frightening and confusing time and can result in adolescents “kicking against the boundaries” set by parents as they wrestle with the demands of schoolwork, social life, peer pressure to conform, sexuality, digital technology and exposure to alcohol and drugs.
In some ways adolescents need as much care as they did when they were little and it can be a worrying time for parents as they try and keep the young person safe. Their emotions can often be extreme as they strive to make sense of the world and their place in it, exhibiting things such as anger, frustration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance or lethargy which can sometimes lead to low-mood/depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Young people can sometimes feel stuck and hopeless and often “act out” their thoughts and feelings in a negative way, which can raise parents’ anxiety. Counselling aims to help the young person feel more confident, enabling them to begin to make sense of their world, to communicate in a more positive way, and move forward.