Teenagers are increasingly experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. This is definitely apparent in my work as a school counsellor and with the young people I meet in my private practice. Anxiety is highly prevalent and starting earlier and earlier in a child’s life. Academic pressures, family relationships, friendship difficulties, bullying, low self-esteem, abuse, bereavement and body image are some of the issues that young people are struggling with.
Sometimes the coping mechanisms needed to deal with these feelings of anxiety and depression are lacking and the child may experience panic attacks, self-harm or ‘avoid’ certain situations or people in order to cope.
Counselling aims to break that cycle and involves helping them to develop a positive attitude to life, recognise their strengths and express themselves. CBT is often offered as a solution via the NHS and although it can be helpful in treating the symptoms and helping to change the negative thoughts that maintain the anxiety or depression, it can often miss the root of the problem, which can resurface at a later date if not addressed.
With this in mind my focus is always the relationship I develop with the client. Developing trust, creating a safe, respectful and non- judgemental space where the client feels able to explore their feelings and find their natural strength and resilience.