“I know many of the students that you have counselled have been helped a lot. You have always been very professional…you have created effective working relationships and worked well with all those that you came into contact with.”
Penny Coulthard, Safeguarding Manager, Guildford College
While our teenage years are a time of fun and opportunity, they can also be very stressful times. Teenage anxiety is on the increase – causes of stress are much greater nowadays with social media, bullying and exams being major contributors. Puberty is an emotionally unbalancing time, and for some people anxiety can can become overwhelming.
Sometimes this can be traced to something happening in the teenager’s life, or in the past, but other times a perfectly happy and capable child becomes gripped with anxiety for no apparent reason. The level of distress and impact on the teenager’s life is greater than ‘normal’ teenage emotions, which usually pass after a couple of years. This level of anxiety can be learned and if not managed can be taken into adulthood.
I believe we need more early intervention support for teenagers to help them manage the thoughts, feelings and changes that they go through. One to one counselling can help teenagers just as it can adults. Being able to express the confusion of their life and try to make sense of it can give them perspective. Finding ways of dealing with the pressures and fears they face helps build confidence. Talking to a neutral, trained person who will listen and won’t judge you can be very effective in reducing the overwhelming feelings of anxiety. As well as talking about your emotions my counselling also helps teenagers put together coping strategies and learn to problem solve.
I see teenagers and young people for one to one counselling to help with anxiety. This takes the form of a threefold programme:
- Emotional support – talking about what is going on for them
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – getting a perspective on negative thinking and turning this into more positive thoughts
- Mindfulness relaxation – creating a space where the worrying can stop
Through counselling I help them to learn about anxiety, to understand what happens as they develop, and to develop some tools and techniques to reduce it. I encourage them to practice these at home between sessions, to make them part of everyday life.
My counselling can help with the following teenage issues:
Social anxiety (being around other people, going out)
School work and exams
Bullying and self-esteem
Family issues such as divorce, adoption or donor conception
Counselling is confidential, but I can also involve parents. We can have five minutes at the end of sessions with a parent, where the teenager can express what they want to say. The purpose is to make this a team effort of support, involving parents in the programme to help them through this difficult time.
I also run a course called Bounceability, which helps students understand anxiety and manage the challenges of school and social life. It is based around a resilience toolkit I have developed, and is offered as a five-week course or a one-off presentation.
Please contact Sandra to discuss how my counselling can help.