Children & Young People
If you are a young person or the parent of a child, I know only too well, the serious challenges facing young people today who are experiencing pressures of exponential levels. With growing demands in education and the negative aspects of a social media existence, young people are feeling like they never quite measure up. Unsurprisingly, levels of anxiety are at an all-time high and mood levels, self-esteem and self-worth, an all-time low.
Young people are expected to make important decisions about their futures when developmentally they are still going through a complex maturation process. In fact, it is now understood that the adult brain is not fully developed until our mid twenties. Many young people are now taking gap years between College and University, not to travel, but because they are already feeling burnt out.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are being experienced by young adults away from home, studying at University and the sharp decline in student well-being has been a frequent topic in the media. Students are struggling to cope with this transition and it isn't helped by the exposure many young people have had to social media in recent years, from an age too young developmentally to fully comprehend its' impact on their emotional wellbeing. We are becoming a virtual society 'connected' to hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, and yet some days may not leave the house or speak to another human, in person or face to face. Comparing ourselves to images on social media is leading to a distorted perception of reality based on images or stories that are heavily filtered or just snapshots of the good bits. But we all know that's not real life because it doesn't show the whole picture or include the struggles and problems we face in everyday life . These comparisons are leading young people to develop negative views of themselves and low self-worth, leaving them feeling isolated and alone. A wise person once told me, "Don't compare how you feel on the inside with how others appear on the outside, we don't know how they're really feeling inside."
If this is what you're experiencing, I want you to know that you are not alone, and you are not the only young person or young adult experiencing this. Many of your peers feel exactly the same. I think one of the things making young people feel isolated is that they don't realise any of their peers feel the same. It's important to talk about what's happening and how you're feeling. Reach out to someone, a friend, family, your tutor/teacher, student services, a doctor, a counsellor and start the process of talking. There are also professional helplines you can call, text or email and lots of helpful information and advice regarding anxiety, depression, self-harm and many other issues you may be experiencing. Please see my 'RESOURCES' page for further details on where to find this support. You are not alone with this.
There are many reasons young people come for counselling, anxiety, low mood, low-self-worth, loneliness, low self-esteem, friendship issues, bereavement, loss, family issues or changes (parental separation, divorce), trauma, bullying, difficulties at school, issues around eating, addiction, self-harm, risk taking behaviour and more ...
I use a Compassion Focused, Strengths-Based, Proactive approach to help young people identify their resources, recognise and build on their strengths and develop resilience. Together we develop a bespoke tool-kit of strategies (such as techniques for grounding, calming, sensory integration, breathing and Mindfulness) to help build their resilience and empower young people in this increasingly complex world. I also enjoy working creatively, this could be with art, play therapy, use of metaphor or other creative ways a young person may need in order to engage with therapy, it doesn't have to be verbal - some young people don't like talking. Adolescence can be a very tricky life stage. A large part of my work also requires normalising this natural, but confusing and sometimes distressing, transition. Together we explore and reflect on different perspectives and choices enabling them to make sense of themselves, their experiences and the world around them.
If you are a young person and would like counselling with me please get in touch or your parent can contact me if you prefer. Please see my 'PRACTICALITIES' page for further details about prices, location and contact details.