Adolescence is a difficult time not only for the young person experiencing the changes that puberty imposes but it also creates worry for their families who become concerned about their child’s wellbeing and psychological development during this often awkward developmental milestone.

Parents and families report feeling disconnected from their teen who often withdraws from their families during puberty, preferring the company of their peers or spending time on their own. This can create friction at home as the communication lines break down and the teenage assertion of independence clashes with a parent’s desire to retain a sense or connection with their teenager.

Parents of teenagers often see counselling as the ‘last resort’ in their quest to understand their teenager and will engage with a counsellor when they are at their wits end trying to understand their child’s behaviour.

Adolescents are notoriously difficult to engage in counselling as puberty often means withdrawal from communication or a resistance to engaging with people outside of their peer group.

This results in an impasse where neither parent nor did child feels they are able to communicate their needs in a way that is safe and validated.

Adolescent issues

There are a number of reasons a teenager might require some counselling support and the list below is a guide for parents who may have some concerns about their teenager.

  • Peer pressure;
  • Bullying;
  • Sexuality issues;
  • Anxiety / sadness / depression;
  • Family discord;
  • Self-harming behaviours;
  • Suicidal thoughts;
  • Problems with body image and self-esteem;
  • Social isolation;
  • Problems with motivation; and
  • Non-attendance at school.

Counselling with Louise Spencer

Counselling for adolescents is a useful way to identify how they are feeling, explore their feelings and develop a plan for managing their responses and resilience to conflict or changes at home or school, in a safe non-judgemental environment.

Similarly, counselling for parents is a great way to debrief their parenting experience and develop strategies to improve harmony in the home in a client centred therapeutic setting.

A comprehensive family assessment to determine the presenting issues within the family system is a priority when engaging with Louise. Working within a family systems model, Louise offers individual counselling to parents and to their children in addition to family therapy with a focus on exploring family and individual dynamics to achieve improved family cohesion.