I often hear people say “school days are the best days of your life”, however, the reality is often that school days are difficult, stressful, pressurised and isolating. School days can even be the worst days of a person’s life.
I know being a teenager is not easy. Your body is changing and even if physical changes took place years ago you still don’t quite fit in with adults and you know you are not a child – so you’re somewhere in the middle.
Friendships can be strained as classes are separated and maybe you are attending a different school from your primary school friends. Little things can weigh us down and feel overwhelming at times but asking for help is the first step in finding the solution to your current difficulties.
For some teenagers it can seem as though no one listens or understands what life is like. Teenagers often attend therapy because they need someone to sit with them and to hear what they have to say. Sometimes teenagers want to learn how to explain themselves clearly and effectively, at home or at school, without becoming angry or frustrated. Therapy can be a time to learn how to communicate effectively and assertively.
Some adolescents want to feel more confident in social situations or learn how to manage worries or anxiety. It might be that they want to like their bodies more or figure out why they are not feeling very happy and therapy helps with a wide range of issues because it is always good to talk about what is on your mind.
At exam time, well-meaning parents often apply pressure on their children (especially at CAO time). Parents often think they know best for their children – that they know the ideal subject choices, the most suited career, which friends to hang out with etc. and you might have your own ideas which may seem totally at odds with your parents’ wants or values.
Some teenagers want help for eating disorders, self-harm, low mood, stress, disrupted sleep, overthinking, exam worry, low self-confidence or self-esteem, bullying, wanting to chat through sexuality or sexual orientation, not feeling happy or not fitting in – this list could go on and on because no two people are the same. Sometimes siting with me for an hour can be very tiring so I shorten the duration of the appointment to suit levels of concentration.
I love working with teenagers because when a teenager is learning skills and techniques such as how to manage anxiety or to control anger or learning how to be brimming with self-confidence or body-proud – these are the same skills that will be utilised by them into adulthood.
Therapy is useful at times of crisis or to nurture and restore an individual following trauma. Adults attend therapy for a variety of reasons including abortion, accident, addiction, adultery – the list is literally endless because no two people react in the same way to the same life event.
It is not only when something goes wrong or for negative reasons that people attend therapy – often it may be to find out why we think the way we do or find out more about why we react in a certain way.
Therapy is empowering because it helps people become more positive and to feel better about themselves. Therapy is about gaining insight and learning ways in which to improve thinking and behaviour.
Therapy is about you, the person sitting with me in the therapy room. It is completely individual which is why I adapt my approach to best suit each person. Therapy is not simply meeting with me for an hour once per week – it is more than that – it is about acceptance, progress, forgiveness and change.
It is important to reflect on your goals prior to and while you are attending therapy. To help with this, I offer exercises for completion or suggest articles to read.
Therapy is a specific time when you are heard, acknowledged and respected. Therapy provides you with an opportunity to learn how to manage or accept aspects of your life which, up to now, may have controlled or bothered you.
Therapy is an opportunity for you to become the best person you can be. That might sound strange or clichéd but, think about it, if you are not waking in the morning feeling happy to be you then what changes need to take place?
Do you want to be happy and content? Do you want to figure out or put to rest what has been holding you back from achieving your full potential? What are your goals for your future? Would it help you to chat through your thoughts with a qualified professional therapist in a confidential environment?
Therapy provides an alternate perspective and a fresh way of looking at your life – in fact, starting therapy can be the beginning of something both rewarding and exciting.