What Is Teen and Young Adult Therapy? Why Is It Important?
People in their late teens and early adult years face challenges unique to this period in life. They endure major transition, and profound personal transformation, from youth to adulthood. The rapid and numerous changes characterizing this period can be overwhelming. Young people may find the services of a therapist or other qualified mental health professional to be beneficial as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.
This time in life is characterized by rapid emotional, cognitive, physiological, and sexual changes. Abruptly transitioning from childhood dependence on parents/caregivers into new adult roles and responsibilities can be overwhelming, stressful and confusing. There is also a natural drive to increasingly differentiate themselves from others and discover their own identity. It is a time of questioning, experimentation and facing major life decisions. Factors including, sexuality, gender identity, racial climate, patriarchal perspectives, socioeconomic status and societal driven views about career choices, going directly into the workforce or entering higher education, moving away from home, getting married, and starting a family all weigh in.
Particularly in American culture, young people graduating from high school may be expected to accept responsibility for themselves legally, make their own life decisions, and to support themselves financially. Facing such life choices means dealing with a confusing array of options. Expanded access to higher education, a vast spectrum of career choices and potential limitations on employment opportunities mean that the steps an individual should take after high school are not as clear-cut as they were for previous generations. Societal expectations and economic conditions can leave some young adults feeling pressured to make lifelong decisions before they are ready. Others may yearn for higher education but are unable to enroll due to financial limitations or cultural familial pressures so they feel lost. Some have been independent and alone most of their lives due to parental limitations and feel stuck in their circumstances. As a result, many young adults may face anxiety and experience troublesome thoughts about their future.
As young people begin the transition from adolescence to early adulthood, and enter into new educational or workplace environments, new social circles, or new geographic locations, they may also encounter people with ideas, beliefs and values that differ from those they held during childhood. This aspect of young adulthood may conflict with their core identity, or what was perceived to be one’s identity, and stir feelings that could contribute to mental health issues such as existential confusion, anxiety or depression.
On top of such developmental and societal pressures, the late teens and early twenties are a time when several serious mental health conditions tend to emerge, including major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse disorder, eating disorders, bipolar illness and schizophrenia, among others.
Due to all these challenges and decisions, young adults can benefit from teen or young adult therapy to help them successfully negotiate the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Therapy can help young adults identify and alter negative thought patterns and feelings and work towards their life goals. In therapy for kids and young adults, clients will also be encouraged to build and utilize support networks. Family therapy may be helpful for young people dealing with changing family dynamics, especially when an issue has arisen that affects family relationships.
Young adult therapy can help teens and young adults dealing with social and academic pressures, family conflict, depression, anxiety, LGBTQ+ concerns, school refusal, lack of motivation, family conflict, body image issues, self-esteem, stress management, bullying, transitioning to college, and many others. We also help teens and young adults to effectively deal with the repercussions of:
- Unexplainable changes in mood
- Emotional and behavioral implications of hormonal changes
- Insecurities exacerbated by social media
- Lack of support from family and friends during identity exploration
- Differentiation: difficulties that arise as teens separate from their parents and become more independent
- Struggles of a changing physical body
- Self-esteem and confidence issues that arise
- Compromised sense of self-worth due to adverse early childhood experiences
- Sexual behaviors that can manifest with the use of social media platforms
- Variety of pressures and stressors arising from social media
- Difficulties in navigating peer relationships, cliques and ostracization
- Challenges with time management and prioritization
- Communication and self-expression difficulties
- Limitations with assertiveness
Holistic Therapy: A Whole Person Focus
Our approach to teen and young adult therapy targets all areas of the person’s life including, but not limited to personal aspirations, academic environment, peer relationships, family relationships, coping ability, health practices such as nutrition and exercise, past or current trauma, stress management ability, and spirituality. Holistic therapy provides a variety of solutions that focus on the whole person (and sometimes the family system) instead of only one or two facets. In this way, our therapists tailor their approach to each person through an individualized, down-to-earth approach which is person-centered and in line with what they hope to achieve.
If appropriate, with the client’s permission, sometimes parents are brought into the therapeutic space to address interpersonal issues within the family.
Safe Nurturing Environment
Our therapists are well-versed in the importance of the therapeutic relationship and its importance in the growth and development process. We provide a nurturing, inclusive, non-judgmental environment where our clients feel supported and safe in sharing and processing sensitive information. We take our time getting to know our clients and provide a space where they can be who they are, capitalize on their strengths, enhance their coping ability and discover an even deeper understanding of themselves.
Empowerment for Goal Attainment
Clients learn about the importance of healthy self-advocacy and are empowered to use their voice and personal expression to build healthy relationships and work through milestones. The path to healing and goal attainment is broken down into small, achievable goals that feel attainable to the client, designed to organically build confidence and life skills. We empower clients to connect with the greatness they are capable of and inspire them to work toward the best version of themselves.