Counselling for Adolescents
Adolescence is a time when individuals tend to become withdrawn and uncommunicative with their families, relying more on peer influences. They can struggle with self-esteem issues, anxiety, stress, peer-pressure, bullying, depression, eating-disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, as well as engaging in alcohol or drug abuse. Furthermore, parents may feel completely shut out and at a loss as to how to help their teenage sons/daughters. At this stage in life, young people may feel embarrassed or uncertain in seeking formal help, as it may seem difficult to access or intimidating for them. I have specialised training in working with young people, and this area is a particular passion of mine. The first step is to talk, and I am here to help.
Online counselling is a very effective and highly evidence-based method of therapeutic support for the modern world. For the younger generation in particular, they may now feel even more comfortable using technology as a means of communication, as an extension of self, and to experience the well-known therapeutic benefits of writing. On the other hand, young people may find it restrictive communicating face-to-face only, in a formal office or on a limited and fixed schedule. In addition, clients living in rural areas may find it problematic to travel a long distance, to attend services before the restrictive office closing-times, or to find reliable transport regularly. This service allows clients to access affordable mental health support from the privacy, comfort and convenience of their own home.
Stress can be described as our emotional and physical responses to external events. Many things can cause people to experience stress, such as exams, deadlines, problems at school/work, new responsibilities, financial struggles, conflict and arguments with other people, not enough time to manage all our obligations, and too much pressure coming from many directions. With all the pressures of the modern world, and all the expectations and responsibilities constantly being placed on our shoulders, it is very natural to become overwhelmed and ‘stressed-out’. The human body responds to our thoughts and emotions as a result of these stress-provoking events by activating the nervous system and releasing specific hormones. These hormones speed up heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Continuous stress can negatively affect our mental and physical health, as well as our behaviour. This can create further personal problems and can cause us to become ill. It is important to explore the causes and triggers of our stress, and find a way to reduce this. I can help you to develop coping skills through Mindfulness techniques and stress-management strategies.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can be caused as a result of our own obtrusive negative thoughts. Certain amounts of anxiety can be helpful in the short-term, for example motivating us to study for an important test that we are nervous about. However, if anxiety starts to become more frequent to the point that it is interfering with your daily life, then anxiety has become a problem for you. If you find yourself avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or experiencing distress over perceived judgements or opinions of others, then it is time to seek help. As part of the therapeutic process, I can help you to identify the causes and triggers of your anxiety, become aware of the Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that contribute to your irrational fears, and retrain the brain to process situations more rationally and logically, to ease the frequency of these thoughts, and return to a healthier and happier way of life.
Self-esteem can be described as a person’s overall sense of self-worth. Young people in particular are vulnerable to having low self-esteem. This can be caused by numerous factors including family life, school pressure, bullying, feeling unhappy with their self-image, the ‘compare and despair’ culture of modern life and social media, perfectionism, as well as a general feeling of being ‘not good enough’. This can also be something that we carry into adulthood, and low self-esteem is strongly associated with an increased risk of depression. On the other hand, a healthy level of self-esteem is linked to overall well-being and satisfaction in areas such as physical health, sociability, relationships, friendships, employment status, and career happiness in later life. I am here to help my clients restore their self-compassion and confidence, to recognise their positive qualities and strengths, and to achieve self-empowerment through small actions and changes that can make a big difference to their lives.
Grief is a natural process of reaction and adjustment to loss and change. When we lose someone or something that is important to us, we grieve. Grief and loss come in many forms, not just through death and bereavement, but also through other kinds of losses and big changes in our lives. Everyone grieves differently, there is no set path or fixed period of time for healing. People can find that the feelings and thoughts of grief come and go in waves. Wherever you are right now, know that it is okay and it is normal. The depth of our grief is a symbol of our love for the person we lost. It is okay if you don't feel strong today. It is okay if you need more time. Nobody can tell anyone else how they should feel, or how they should grieve. It is okay to talk about it, about the memories and the moments, the good times and the bad times. As a counsellor, I want to help my clients through grief and loss, by providing a safe and non-judgemental place to listen and support.
When we talk about depression it is important to understand that there are different kinds of depression – Situational and Clinical.
Situational depression can occur as a result of circumstances in a person’s life, perhaps a traumatic event or a significant change. People suffering through these kinds of personal difficulties can experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and worry, crying, sleeplessness, and withdrawal. This is a natural human reaction to emotional pain and trauma, but it should not continue in the long-term if the individual can seek help, talk about the problem, and eventually come to terms with the event. Getting counselling support is very important in these kinds of situations, as it is only through emotional release and gradual adjustment to the new reality that a person can come to a place of acceptance and recovery.
Clinical depression, however, is more serious than situational depression, as the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life. Clinical depression has a range of possible causes and is a longer-term condition. It is associated with a disturbance in the chemical balance of our brains, which affects our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. This disturbance of normal brain functioning can be triggered by external events such as major changes or trauma. It can be influenced by genetic factors, and it has also been linked to alcohol or drug dependence. If a person meets the criteria to be given a formal diagnosis of clinical depression, a GP or a psychiatrist can prescribe anti-depressant medication. This, in combination with regular therapeutic support with a qualified therapist, is proven to be the most effective treatment option for clinical depression.