Adolescence, in my opinion, is the trickiest phase of life. A lot of opportunities to become successful in the future open for a teenager. However, he or she also has to deal with puberty, crushes, and in some cases, bullies. On top of that, parents expect the kid to perform well at school and excel in their extracurricular activities.
In other words, teens get more stuff on their plates than they can handle most of the time. If they can’t learn how to oversee their schedule early, their stress can even lead to nervous breakdown, depression, personality disorders, or suicide.
Nonetheless, this scenario is still avoidable, especially once the teenager receives therapy. Learn how to counsel adolescents efficiently below.
Therapy isn’t easy. It can often stir up issues, at least temporarily. Most people need more than a few sessions to get to the core of the issues they’re experiencing. — Andrea M. Risi, LPC
The initial advice I can offer is to give the child a substantial reason to trust you. When he or she has so much pent-up anger, it is probable that they see everyone, including their parents and siblings, as enemies. This feeling may increase in case a “shrink” tries to talk to them, but it can subside once they realize that you genuinely care about their well-being.
In times when a teenager only has ill-meaning words for themselves, a counselor needs to move forward and teach them how to be positive. Not doing so can push the kid further down the depression lane, and you surely have an idea of how unpleasant that path can be. The change may not happen in one snap of a finger, yet you can do little by little each session until they display optimism on their own.
Therapists that emphasize finding solutions, developing skills, or addressing specific problems are likely to be more solution-focused. — Louis Hoffman, PhD
Doctor-and-patient relationships only work when the individual has a spine to correct or a gallstone to remove. It won’t fly if the person – a teenager, no less – requires counseling to resolve mental issues. Often, the health professional has to turn into a friend or a parent to put the adolescent at ease and motivate him or her to speak about their day, worries, and whatnot.
Ask Questions Strategically
Troubled teens frequently take on the daredevil attitude. They tend to feel as if they know better than adults, so it is effortless for them to ignore any inquiry from grown-ups. Despite that, there’s a chance that they won’t be able to close off too quickly once you try different forms of questioning.
You can start with queries that are answerable by “yes” or “no.” In case that doesn’t elicit a response from the teenager, ask them about their daily life or the things they like. Your last option is the Socratic approach, which allows the individual to share their opinions or perceptions regarding a particular incident.
It is vital a children are able to bring their whole selves, brain and body both, into the therapy room, a setting of safety and acceptance. — Melinda S. Malher-Moran, MA, LMHC, BC-DMT
Help Them See Through Their Actions
A clear distinction between a counselor and a parent is that the latter reprimands and regularly tells the kid what he or she should do. The former, on the other hand, can guide the teen on how to dissect their activities by prompting him or her to remember why they did it, what ran in their head while doing it, and how they felt afterward. The therapist may even go further and make the teenager think of the way others think about their actions so that the child realizes the good and bad aspects of it.
On occasion, adolescents find it challenging to cooperate during therapy because they assume they’ll say something wrong and get in more prominent trouble for it. At this point, a counselor should continually assure them that it is OK to voice out their thoughts and that they are in a room where judgments have no place. It may help the teen divulge their deepest secrets and repressed feelings sooner than later.