According to 17th century English poet John Donne, “No man is an island.” We all need bridges and connections to each other, but we can’t build those bridges alone.
Reaching out to others when we need help is critical to maintaining these connections, especially for young adults who are still developing the skills to know how to face life’s challenges. While therapy is now a universally accepted part of self-care, one size does not fit all.
Counseling young adults resembles traditional therapy, but it’s not the same because young adults are still pondering their personal identity and asking many of life’s questions adults have already answered for themselves. With nearly 20 years of experience working with teens and young adults, Pacific Quest offers a wilderness therapy program that helps students develop the skills they need to become their best selves.
What is a Young Adult?
Anyone who’s spent time with teenagers and young adults knows they are a breed apart. Not only do they use expressions and technology most adults have never heard of, but they also think differently than other age groups. Counseling young adults starts with understanding how their brains work.
During this stage of development young adults’ brains have a greater capacity for critical thinking, and they make decisions based on consequences and the impact on others; however, they still follow rather than shape rules and rely on external factors more than on internal drivers. Their prefrontal cortex and cerebellum, which are the regions responsible for emotional control and higher-order cognitive functioning, respectively, do not fully mature until age 25.
On the other hand, young adults’ brains are better able to calibrate risks and rewards, think ahead, self-evaluate and regulate their emotions. The staff at Pacific Quest, which is on Hawaii’s Big Island, shapes our therapy and work with young adults around our students’ emotional and cognitive development. We know that young adults are still a work in progress, and we’re here to help them build the tools to make that progress at their own pace.
Counseling young adults for nearly 20 years has shown the Pacific Quest staff that there are certain markers for this stage in life. Young adults often feel they are in between stages, no longer adolescents but not yet adults. They’re still exploring their identities and transitioning from college to their first apartments to living with friends or romantic partners. Because they’re still figuring things out, they may be inwardly focused and both optimistic and overwhelmed by possibilities of what their lives can be. Young adulthood is an exciting, frustrating and tumultuous time. Learn more about this stage of growth.
The Importance of Counseling Young Adults
Growing up is hard to do in any era, but with the ubiquitous presence of social media, the abundance of opportunities and the rising cost of living, the transition to adulthood seems particularly difficult these days. Counseling young adults is therefore especially important.
Therapists offer a neutral, experienced perspective that can help their clients see their own patterns and habits, identify their strengths and weaknesses and then teach them tools to manage the challenges they’re facing. Because the brain is still developing during young adulthood and serious mental health issues such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can manifest during this time, finding the right counselor is especially important. Parents and friends can offer loving support but don’t have the critical distance that may be necessary for some young adults.
At Pacific Quest, we offer a unique backdrop for healing. Our beautiful, 5-acre waterfront property has 8,000 square feet of facilities including a commercial-grade kitchen. Through our counseling of young adults, we immerse them in community living, teach practical life skills, focus on personal accountability and promote emotional and physical well-being.
We work with young adults who are struggling with a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, family conflict, ADHD and mood regulation issues but are not equipped to deal with issues such as psychosis, students going through detox or pregnancy. What distinguishes Pacific Quest is our wilderness therapy which teaches students sustainable life skills and empowers them to make healthy choices.
Another key element of Pacific Quest’s approach is horticultural therapy, which combines the art and science of growing flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables with current theories in human behavior, neuroscience and counseling psychology. Contact Pacific Quest today for more information and to help prepare the young adult in your life for the road ahead.