Counseling for Children & Adolescents
I find that young people often speak to me with remarkable candor. They may indicate that they have been struggling with difficult emotions. They may describe struggles at school, troubles at home, or frustration with the pressures of growing up. They may simply indicate a vague and uncomfortable sense that something in their lives has somehow gone wrong.
In their sessions, we work to figure out what that “something” really is. We may explore the possibility that while the child may be part of a problem, it may also be about much larger circumstances beyond their control. We often focus on how young people can resolve their difficulties by believing in themselves, trusting their own judgment, and raising their voices. Most importantly, we challenge what often poses the greatest threat to young people’s sense of wellbeing: the inaccurate and damaging belief that when things go wrong, it is because something is wrong with them.
In my work with young people I frequently encourage their parents to be part of the counseling process, usually through parent consultations. I do this for three reasons. First, young people’s difficulties may reflect larger problems that only parents can address. Second, it can help parents develop new, more effective child-raising strategies. And third, while counselors can play a significant role in changing the lives of young people, the most powerful agents of change are mom and dad.