Adolescence can be a particularly difficult stage of life to navigate through. Adolescents these days have a myriad of challenges to face. This includes academic pressure with many teens experiencing times when they feel like they are unable to cope. Adolescents also experience developmental changes as their bodies prepare for adulthood. Conversations about what this means for each adolescent can be difficult, and therapy is a safe space for these things to be explored.
Adolescence also comes with the development of personal identity and self-development. This period often holds an internal dilemma of needing parental support while also seeking freedom and separation. The adolescent brain whilst developing all sorts of new abilities is not fully equipped to assess risks. As a result, finding the balance between support and independence can be tricky but nonetheless is an important part of healthy development.
These days adolescents are heavily involved with social media which often requires a need to present an idealised version of oneself whilst hiding the struggling parts. Many adolescents experience the cruelty of cyberbullying where the aggressors are able to hide behind a screen, yet their words remain potent and often visible to many, which heighten the embarrassment for the victim.
Some teens who are bullied and who don’t feel accepted by their peers or family systems develop a belief that there is something wrong with them or that they are inadequate. Either as a means to gain some kind of acceptance or to escape from difficult thoughts and feelings, some teens resort to using alcohol or drugs. Others try self-harm, develop eating disorders and engage in risky behaviours all as a means to manage very similar issues.
Within psychotherapy, there is a strong belief that things that are spoken about are the things that are no longer needed to be acted out. Words are a powerful tool for expressing and relieving emotional pain. Those who have dabbled with poetry and music readily and intuitively understand how words have always served as a medium for catharsis.
My personal approach to working with adolescents focuses and how emotions live and breathe within the body and how we can listen to our bodies to help identify our emotions. I also focus on teaching emotional identification skills and foster ways of expressing emotions and establishing ways to maintain and repair relationships. My approach is guided through the teachings of Interpersonal Psychotherapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.