Many young people struggle with how they feel. They experience challenges with friends, family or school. They may also be anxious, depressed, angry or scared and need to talk to someone, but find it difficult to talk to people they know. Counselling can help them talk things through, support them without making them feel judged, and increase their confidence (unless they disclose that their personal safety is at risk).
The types of counselling for children and young people includes face-to-face counselling sessions, one-to-one phone calls, virtual platforms, and groups.
Counselling is the most common form of talk therapy. It can help young people deal with issues and better understand life events and the effects it is having on their mental wellbeing. Counselling could be recommended for young people who are struggling with a mental health concerns, such as, chronic depression to anxiety disorders; it can address problems with unhealthy eating habits, bereavement; bullying, anger, relationships, identity, low self-esteem, behavioural (videogames, gambling, pornography) and substance use addictions, and self-harm. The counsellor will help explore the concerns, the symptoms, and collaboratively create strategies for coping.
Different types of counselling
There are different types of counselling, but the most common ones recommended for young people are:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): The CBT approach is about how your thinking impacts the way you feel and act. In other words, exploring how you can get unstuck from unhealthy thinking patterns, and identify more helpful ways of thinking, can impact your mood and behaviour positively. There are typically six or 12 weekly sessions and the therapist sets goals with the young person, in addition to weekly ‘homework’ assignments to increase their ability to cope.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is often combined with CBT and helps a young person to focus on difficult thoughts and feeling, rather than avoiding them, so that the fear of the unhealthy thoughts gradually lessens. Therapists can also include meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.
Psychotherapy: This is a more long-term therapy and involves talking about the effects of past events and can be more helpful with long-term concerns, such as, depression, anxiety or eating disorders.
Family Therapy: The whole family works with the family therapist to explore and understand the concerns they are all experiencing. Family counselling can help improve communications between family members and address issues; such as, increasing parenting skills, discipline, children’s behavioural problems, disability, life stage transitions, family breakdown, addiction and domestic abuse.