Counseling for Children & Adolescents
Like adults, young people have their own unique set of challenges. They may find themselves grappling with painful or confusing emotions. They may describe struggles at school or troubles at home. They may be feeling unliked by their peers – or unliked by themselves. Whatever the problem, they often have difficulty putting it into words. Instead, they may be able to express only the vague sense that something in their lives has somehow gone wrong.
In their sessions, we work to figure out what that “something” really is. We explore the possibility that while children really do have problems, theirs may wrapped up in much larger problems that are beyond their control. We often focus on how young people can resolve difficulties by understanding themselves, believing in their own judgment, sharing their thoughts and feelings, and asking for what they need. 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 are bad, it is because they are bad.
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, it can identify when young people’s difficulties are symptomatic of bigger 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, it can fortify the most powerful agents of change: mom and dad.