Adolescence: it is a time of confusion, irrational thinking, impulsive behavior and overwhelming emotions. According to Harvard Magazine, there is a scientific explanation for this “paradoxical” time in a person’s life; and it’s not just because of hormones. Scientists have recently learned that the “frontal lobe, responsible for cognitive processes such as reasoning, planning and judgement” does not complete its maturation process until somewhere between the ages of 25 and 30.
The amygdala, however, which is “responsible for immediate reactions including fear and aggressive behavior,” develops earlier, as reported by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Thus, many young people are plagued with intense feelings of anger, aggression and fear (to name only a few), but do not possess the ability to reason or think things through before acting. This new research, along with the already well-documented knowledge about significant hormonal changes during the teen years, explains why so many teenagers feel out of place in their own bodies.
In addition to skyrocketing changes in hormonal activity and brain development, the life changes that adolescents go through are tremendous compared to other times in life. They’re trying to answer big questions:
- Should I go to college
- If I go to college, which one should I choose?
- If I go to college, what should I focus on?
- How do I want to make an impact on the world?
- What are my sexual preferences?
- Do I want to have a family?
- What do I want my relationships to look like?
- Do I believe the same things I was taught growing up?
Adolescence is essentially a journey in which young adults fearlessly attempt to answer the question “Who am I and what is my role in the world?” Considering overwhelming questions and life changes that happen during the teenage years, it is no surprise that so many young people seek psychiatric help.
Counseling Young Adults
If your child is struggling with the changes that come from being a young adult, he is not alone, and there is help available. Counseling young adults can be an essential key to unveiling the issues that torment your child’s psyche. In some cases, it may even be life-saving. Through counseling, young adults can find the tools they need in order to cope with the overwhelming job of being a young person.
For example, a young adult who finds she is unable to deal with her feelings of rage and anger might find, through counseling, that the roots of that anger come from fear of rejection. Or maybe a highly impulsive teenager finds he can make well thought out decisions by stopping himself and observing the situation before acting. Counseling young adults can bring hope and tranquility to these and many other young people.
Strategies for Counseling Young Adults
Although many counseling strategies hold true for youth, there are ways in which counseling young adults looks different from counseling older adults. The goals for counseling with young adults may be to strengthen their independence, to become comfortable with their identity, and to develop coping strategies for when life feels overwhelming. On the other hand, goals for counseling an older adult might involve developing communication strategies with a life partner or co-workers, or increasing stress management skills. Counseling young adults differs from counseling for older adults in that it tends to focus more on the individuality and identity of the young person.
Sessions for Counseling Young Adults
In addition, counseling young adults looks different from counseling adults in the way a session is carried out. A session with a young adult might include more story-telling and acting out situations whereas a session with an older adult might include more discussion of feelings and reasons behind those feelings. This is so that the teenager can explore new ways of problem solving. Although counseling young adults can look different than counseling for people of other age categories, it is clear that counseling can have huge benefits for young adults.
These benefits that young people find from counseling can be enjoyed by your child when they join the many young adults who have participated in the programs at Pacific Quest. Parents agree that their children are on “healthy and productive paths” toward their dreams, are more “emotionally mature” than before their experience here, and are able to find their “true selves.” The wilderness therapy and counseling at Pacific Quest will give your child the self-confidence and serenity she needs to become a successful individual. Contact us to discover how Pacific Quest can be part of your child’s journey.