The present blogspot will be based on the question “what is adolescent counseling?”. It will define and describe adolescent counseling along its uses and advantages for the young people. It will also discuss the necessary counseling skills for adolescent counseling and the various therapy interventions utilized in adolescent counseling.
What is adolescent counseling?
Adolescent counseling is a type of counseling that deals with the issues faced by adolescents in their adolescence. The adolescent counseling is majorly concerned with the transition into the teenage and puberty.
Since adolescence is in itself an age of emotional vulnerability, adolescent counseling aims at making adolescence experiences less disturbing for the young people. It facilitates the adolescents to express their thoughts, emotions and wishes that they think are often overwhelming or are difficult to handle for them. It also strives at teaching healthy coping skills to the young people so that they can handle their life stressors in healthy ways rather than becoming a victim to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Core skills of a counselor dealing with adolescents
The core skills of a counselor who is undertaking cases for adolescent counseling are :
- Rapport building
- Deep Listening
- Social Support
- Skillful questioning
- Goal Setting
Rapport building in adolescent counseling
It is an essential skill for the adolescent counselor. It helps to establish a therapeutic alliance and builds feelings of trust in the client towards the therapist. The adolescent is better able to open up true feelings and thoughts in front of a counselor who strives to build a good rapport and successfully manages to establish a professional rapport.
Since the adolescent population is much stubborn and resistant, they don’t open their life issues in front of anyone easily. Often the adolescent population thinks of counseling as a stigma. Hence establishing rapport and therapeutic alliance to help them gain confidence on the counselor is essential.
Deep Listening in adolescent counseling
The adolescent counseling demands a counselor to have active listening and responding skills. The counselor needs to have skills to patiently listen to whatever the client is saying and respond verbally and non verbally so the client knows that he is being heard and listened to well.
While working with the adolescent population, counselors need to practice maintaining silence and working with resistance as this population often gets resistant to various areas of their life.
Social Support in adolescent counseling
The social support in adolescent counseling is meant to start the counseling of adolescents with supportive work that is based upon making the client feel better or think better about herself/himself. Supportive work during the initial sessions involves the counselor and the adolescent to engage in talk that the client wants to do. The counselor usually talks about the interests of the adolescent coming for counseling.
Through supportive work, the counselor provides opportunities to the adolescent to better manage his current life through motivational interviewing techniques or catharsis. Often the counselor develops an insight in the adolescent about the underlying problem through solution focused interventions.
Skillful questioning in adolescent counseling
The adolescent counselor needs to be skilled and trained for questioning for case formulation and behavior change. He must be trained enough to know better what type of questions to ask at what time from the adolescent under counseling.
The timing and type of questioning is necessary with adolescents in counseling sessions because a wrong question at the wrong time may make the adolescent defensive or resistant towards the counseling.
Generally using the open ended questions in adolescent counseling yields better responses. Open ended questions in adolescent counseling are meant for affirmations, reflective statements and summarizing. The open ended questions are good to be used for adolescent counseling and motivational interviewing.
Open ended questions are a better source for obtaining a deep insight about adolescents’ feelings and thought patterns. Counselors mostly use open ended questions to probe further into any area of adolescent’s life.
Some examples of open ended questions used in adolescent counseling are:
- What brings you here today?
- How have you been since the last session?
- What was the outcome of the tasks assigned in the last session?
- How do you think the situation will be better if you change your current scenario?
On the other hand, close ended questions are used in adolescent counseling to gain specific answers. Close-ended questions are good to be used for adolescents who are resistant to counseling. Such questions yield only one word answers or a typical yes/no response from the adolescent and are a good way to start a conversation. With closed ended questions it is always possible to keep the conversation going.
Some types of close ended questions used in adolescent counseling are:
- Do you like being touched by your partner?
- Do you like when the teacher appreciates you?
- Do you think the fight was initiated because of you?
Play and art interventions
Adolescents often suppress their feelings instead of communicating them properly and do not have much of their unfinished businesses or life conflicts in their conscious mind. It is always recommended when dealing with adolescents to use play and art therapy techniques to let them explore their unconscious mind and provide them with opportunities to do catharsis.
Play and art are recognized as tools for identifying the unconscious material and the subconscious issues that have to be dealt with in life. Using such techniques the counselor is able to identify personality dynamics, family patterns and other necessary information indirectly that the adolescent might have resisted sharing otherwise.
The play and art techniques also enable the adolescent counselor to formulate the case by knowing the family structure, the emotional content, the thought content and the relationship quality that the adolescent shares with friends and family members.
Goal Setting in adolescent counselling
Goal setting in adolescent counseling is very important. The counselor facilitates the adolescent to identify the areas for improvement and set realistic goals to be achieved during the counseling sessions.
There are two types of goals that are set during the course of adolescent counseling. One is a short term goal and the other is a long term goal. The short term goat motivates the adolescent and increases their sense of achievement. On the other hand, the long term goal usually takes longer to achieve. It is usually a change in temperament or personality pattern.
The adolescent counselor does not impose the goals on to the adolescent rather the counselor facilitates the adolescent to develop an insight about the various life areas that need to be worked upon.
The goals set during adolescent counseling have to be based on the following characteristics:
- Time bound
The importance of adolescents counseling
Usually adolescents are most vulnerable to go through emotional anxiety and insecurities. Since adolescence is a transition from childhood to adulthood, the adolescence age phase is usually centered around identity crisis, peer influence, bullying, sibling rivalry, school adjustment and parental conflict. The adolescents are usually unable to convey their unpleasant feelings and resolve their life issues on their own. Through adolescent counseling, they are able to identify the conflict areas of life and are better able to resolve their life issues.
Adolescents are more prone to relationship issues and substance use. They are usually not comfortable in communicating or discussing these issues with their parents or their family due to the fear of being judged or criticized. Adolescent counseling helps adolescents to deal with relationship issues and negative peer influence or substance abuse and replace their maladaptive behaviors with adaptive ones.
The advantages of adolescent counseling
Following are the advantages of adolescent counseling:
- Adolescents are better able to vent out their unpleasant feelings.
- Adolescents are able to share their negative life experiences without the fear of being judged or evaluated.
- Adolescents have less chances to fall prey to negative peer influence and fall victim to substance abuse.
- Adolescents are better able to overcome the hurdles in their life that keep them from living a successful life.
- Adolescents are able to achieve their academic goals and life goals easily.
- Adolescents are educated and trained about using effective healthy coping styles for overcoming their problems in life.
- Adolescents are better able to deal with events like birth of a sibling, adjusting to a new neighbourhood, getting settled in a new school, violent parents, being bullied, sexual or emotional abuse and any natural disaster.
- Adolescents can confidently deal with the physical and psychological challenges of pre-puberty and puberty.
- Adolescents are better able to practice resilience and emotional regulation.
- Adolescents are better able to overcome and manage stress due to parental conflicts
The present blogspot focused on the various aspects of adolescent counseling. It discussed the goal and aims of adolescent counseling. We learned the necessary skills a counselor dealing with adolescent clients need to have, the advantage of adolescent counseling and the importance of adolescent counseling.
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs): Adolescent Counseling
What is adolescent counseling?
Adolescent counseling is the provision of a safe space for individuals to share with a professionally trained counselor their unpleasant feelings and thoughts that are a hindrance in their adequate functioning. It provides adolescents with opportunities to identify and resolve the underlying conflicts.
Why do adolescents need counseling?
Adolescents need counseling to overcome behavioral problems and behavioral problems. They are better able to learn dealing with relationship issues, bullying and peer pressure through counseling with a specially trained counselor.
What is the need for guidance and counseling in adolescents?
Guidance and counseling are crucial to an adolescents life. Getting counseled about the challenges of adolescence and how to deal with them makes it easier for adolescents to meet the demands and face the psychological and social challenges with appropriate guidance and facilitation.