“Counselling? You’re kidding! You mean I have to lay on a couch while some shrink asks me how I’m feeling?”
If you’ve ever talked to your teenager about the possibility of seeing a counsellor, it’s highly possible this is how they responded. Don’t be shocked if this happens–we know that therapy isn’t discussed very much in our culture, and the media often portrays it in a condescending and useless manner. So why send your teen to counselling, and what are the benefits?
I first entered a counsellor’s office at age 10 due to issues at school, and invariably went in and out all through my teenage years. Because of this, I can attest to the fact that counselling can be invaluable for a young person. It can be difficult to overcome his or her notion ‘no one else is doing it’ (that’s a lie) and, ‘there’s nothing for me to talk about’ (also a lie). In fact, seeing a therapist empowers young people to overcome and deal with their struggles, while also allowing them to feel understood.
If you want to have a conversation with your teen about attending counselling, then these 7 benefits (all of which I have experienced), will show you why it’s so useful.
- They experience independence
Independence is long pursued by some young people, and feared by others. Either way, seeing a counsellor is a healthy way for your teen to experience this as they take ownership of their feelings, experiences and their mental health. It also enables you to ‘let go,’ knowing they are in safe hands.
- It provides for a smoother transition
The transitions from child to teenager and teenager to adult are complex and fraught with conflict for the entire family. A counsellor will help your teen to navigate these transitions, empowering them to step into a new stage of life.
- Your teen is given space
Personal space and time apart from the family is a gold mine for most teens. They need to be understood. A counsellor is a safe outsider who your teen will feel validated by, rather than feeling like a child.
- It benefits their mental health
Puberty is like a glowing light that attracts every single feeling, emotion, experience and temptation into your child’s life. Your young person needs support in this time. Depression and anxiety are often seen in young adults, and self-medicating practices or self-injury are all too common. Wherever your teen is at, seeing a counsellor can help them care for their mental health.
- It benefits the family
Inevitably, when a young person attends counselling it will uncover behaviours and beliefs that permeate through the family unit. Having your teen attend counselling, and then listening and supporting them through it (or even attending yourself), can create a much more stable and happier environment at home.
- They are kept accountable
If you ask your young person where they’ve been, you’re likely intruding on them. If you fail to do this, it’s perceived that you don’t care. Living with a teenager is hardly a win-win situation for them or you. Allowing them to see a counsellor provides an alternate avenue to keep them accountable. Rather than feeling victimised for their behaviours, a counsellor will give them the space to explore why this is happening, and how to move forward.
- Your teen feels valued
Within the extreme emotions your teen feels every day, they simply want to know that they are ok. The world, their peers and even their family is telling them to do things better, or to do less of something else. They feel like they should be a completely different person and act as a chameleon each day depending on who they are with. The overarching need to feel valued, understood and accepted is what your young person is desperate for during this stage of life. A counsellor provides this in their sessions, allowing your teen to explore their place in the world in a safe environment.
Are you concerned about your young person? Would you like your teen to experience the benefits of counselling? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you or book online now.