We live in a challenging world and the adolescent years can often be an emotional roller coaster, full of highs and lows and the perfect breeding ground for worry, anxiety and a whole host of other challenges. You want your child to thrive and be happy, so it can be very difficult to see them struggle.
You may want to be there for them, to be the person they come to with their concerns and help them with any worries they have, but this isn't always possible. Sometimes, young people simply don’t feel able to talk to parents about their problems or don’t want to ‘burden’ them. Sometimes they feel more comfortable with talking to a professional, someone who has the training to help with their particular concern and someone who is unbiased.
I am passionate about young people’s mental health and in helping them to navigate the often difficult journey from adolescence to adulthood. It can be hard for young people to open up and building a trusting relationship is very important. My aim is to create a safe space where your child feels able to talk through their concerns. I want to help them to understand their emotions better and to develop coping skills and build emotional resilience, something that will serve them well into adulthood.
Sometimes young people have the idea that a counsellor will just be the latest adult trying to tell them what to do. That’s not the case. What I offer as a counsellor is an opportunity for them to explore their feelings, thoughts and experiences, to understand and discuss issues that may be on their mind and to help them make sense of the world they live in. As a counsellor, I will never tell a young person what to do or steer them down a certain path. I will listen and encourage them to look at their options and to explore ideas, guiding and supporting them to make their own, informed choices. I will do my very best to work with them to see how their life might be better, to help them see what power they have over their own world and, where there are difficult circumstances which they are unable to change, how they might develop better resilience and coping mechanisms.
Some examples of how I help young people through counselling include coping with everyday worries, managing exam stress and overcoming relationship issues with friends and family. I can also help them through grief, depression, loneliness and anxiety, as well as supporting them with low self-esteem and confidence, self-harm, sexual orientation or gender dysphoria, to name a few. Sometimes young people feel that they’re ‘different’ and ‘don’t fit in’, so we often work on creating a sense of identity too.
I work with young people from age 10 onwards, offering both short term and long term support. Sometimes they might just need a few sessions to talk through a specific event that’s happened. At other times they may want longer term support to help them through a more troublesome time. Young people often find some of the transitions they have to deal with challenging. For example, the transition from primary to secondary school or moving into the sixth form. In particular, moving away from home to attend university or starting their first job can be times of increased anxiety.