Young Adults and Adolescent Challenges

Young adulthood and its challenges

This is a time that is rich with potential, a time of huge growth, change and of major decision making.  A time of great challenges and difficulties for some, with too much pressure and too many decisions to be made.  This is often a time when your dreams, ideals and expectations from childhood/adolexcence strat to crumble or shatter as you hit the reality of the world "out there. "

Typical challenges that young adults face include:

  • First serious relationships (and heartbreaks)
  • Studying for a career (and all the associated dilemmas) or having no clue what to do with your life
  • Leaving the family/ home - to study, work , travel
  • Living with your family, but having no real independence
  • Starting work for the first time
  • Earning your first salary and all the financial challenges (blowing your first few salaries...debt?)

Starting to deal with all this stuff

To start to deal with some of your issues at this age is a huge advantage, as it helps you develop a more solid foundation to move forward in your life - more realistic self awareness and understanding, developing self confidence, learning coping mechanisms, skills and tools  - which could totally benefit your life going forward.

In therapy, we can explore and assist you with :

  • Life challenges and worries
  • Self confidence and self worth
  • Difficulties in relationships - with friends
  • Family issues, with your mother or father, or siblings
  • Your romantic relationship/s
  • Stress and feeling tired all the time
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Feeling low, depression
  • Traumatic life experiences
  • Career, academic and study stresses
  • Work issues
  • Obsessive and compulsive behaviours
  • Clinically diagnosed disorders
  • Exploring sexual orientation
  • Self harming behaviours

Therapy/counselling can assist you and help you sort out some of your issues, in a safe and supportive place.  I read a great saying the other day - "life is too short to be at war with yourself".  Perhaps we can add, at war with others, too.   Phone Sharon to make your first appointment.



Teen years can be so challenging, as there are so many changes that take place.  There are 3 types of change:

Internal changes  (mental, emotional, "growing up",  spiritual awareness, etc);

Physical changes (the body, physical growth, hormones etc.).

External factors :  any life crises, such as changes in the family (divorce or separation of parents, parents fighting), school and exam pressures (matric !?!), friends and besties, peer pressure, cyber bullying, first relationships and issues around sexual activity/love and many other issues.

You try to understand and manage situations that are often not in your control and are hard to make sense of.  As a result you may shut down, isolate yourself (in your bedroom with music or play station ), stop talking to your parents and friends, start acting out in angry rebellious ways (but taking things just a bit too far at times) and start getting snappy and unpleasant.

These issues are often swept under the carpet , when your parents/caregivers think that you (the teen) will grow out of this. In some cases this may be true.  other times, you start to feel worse and sink into depression; or may try more harmful behaviours such as self harm (self cutting and burning, over drinking, acting out sexually, experimenting with drugs and alcohol), and in more extreme cases, you may have thoughts of killing yourself and feel suicidal.

So why Therapy for teens?

I have often found that teens want and need someone to talk to, but they must feel safe and contained.  Sometimes they cannot talk to their parents (too much emotional history or troubled relationships), and friends can help only so much.   Being a teen can be really lonely and confusing, so therapy can assist the teen to make a safe and reliable connection and start to sort out his/her issues.

Adults/Parents: What to look out for in your teenager

Parents and caregivers are so busy with work, running the home, raising children, dealing with finances, their own relationships ..... Sometimes it is easier to leave the teen to get on with her or his live.  It is the parent or caregiver's responsibility to look out for the teen, without micro managing him or her.  Not such an easy balance at all!  And all teens have different personalities, and have different needs.  Over time, as a parent and caregiver, look out for when your teen starts to :

Lose interest in life and in usual interests;  stops having fun; feels more worthless and becomes very self critical; sleeps too much (more than usual because some teens can really sleep in the best of situations!); is weepy and cries;  feels helpless, hopeless, really angry and frustrated, and totally withdraws socially.

She/he may feel guilty all the time;  experience headaches, body aches and pains or recurring illness.  At school and with homework, watch for major avoidance, loss of concentration and poor memory with school work/homework, and agitation or boredom (more than usual).  Keep an eye out when marks start to drop - especially maths and the learning subjects - often a sign of worry/anxiety and maybe some depression.


Why Teen Therapy and Counselling

Rather now than later.  It can be beneficial to offer a teen this kind of support. It is easier sometimes to talk to someone who is neutral and caring, but is not involved in the family politics and emotions. Rather not leave it too long when the issues have become much more complicated, or suddenly exams have arrived, adding even more stress.

Therapy may address problems and difficulties such as:

  • Self esteem and self confidence
  • Fears, worries and anxieties
  • Sadness or depression, loneliness
  • Relationships with peers
  • Cyber bullying
  • Family issues and difficulties (parents separation / divorce; birth or death of a sibling)
  • New 'blended' families and step parents/ step siblings
  • Obsessive Compulsive behaviours (over washing of hands or showering, counting to gain self control,  etc).
  • Under achieving at school
  • And over achieving at school and the stress around this.
  • Challenges at school (exams, overload of homework;  pressures from schools re academics and sports )
  • Self harming behaviours

At some point into the therapy, we can set up a "family session" with the teen and the parents, if we all feel this will be in everyone's best interest.   There we can do some mutual feedback and explore issues and communications .

Please phone me to set up a first session - where we can do an initial assessment, and explore what  would help going forward.