I love my teenage son but, boy, he can be really moody and completely non-communicative (when he feels like it!). He comes home from school and goes straight upstairs to talk to his friends on skype. At best, I get a “can I have something to eat and drink”.
Sound familiar? But is this really a true reflection of a teenager? I think some of you may relate but there are fair number of parents out there who don’t have this problem. Why?
Perhaps it’s because that teenagers get really bad press…those of you who may remember Kevin the Teenager will remember for him ever pleading “it’s so UNFAIR!”.
And sometimes it is unfair. My goodness! Teenagers have a lot to cope with: choosing what subjects they will major on for the rest of their school life, GCSEs, A-levels, girlfriends and boyfriends, questions about their own sexuality, acne, emotions that come from nowhere.
We grown-ups stand from a position of ‘been there, done that’. Our logical “don’t worry, it will pass” and “just get on with it” arguments do not help the incredibly emotional and non-logical teenage brain.
What happens next?
Some teenagers come out of this emotional turmoil as well-rounded citizens with no intervention, but some do not and more than likely needed help. Help with their emotions, their decisions, their relationships.
Who can help then?
From a teenager’s point of view sometimes just talking it through with your parents or friends can be too close for comfort. That’s where the beauty of talking to a qualified therapist. Someone who can just listen to them, can ask the right questions and help them understand their place in the world.
Now there are a lot of different talking therapies out there like:
• Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT)
• Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
• Dialectic behaviour therapy (DBT)
• Psychodynamic therapies
• Humanistic therapies
My training is in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and working, in particular, with children and young adults
So what is a session with an NLP4Kids therapist like?
I’m glad to say there is no typical session but, for me, I have a general format that I follow.
Firstly, we would meet for a free consultation to talk out the problem or issue that needs resolving, and start a road map to what is wanted from our sessions together.
As I said earlier some teenagers may have difficulty in relating the issue to someone close (possibly because that person may be the problem) so a great technique I use to overcome this is called “A New Point of View”.
The “New Point of View” Technique is about helping someone to see through the eyes of another, and what is brilliant about this exercise is that whilst the teenager is role playing as someone else, saying the things they think would be said about them, they are really just telling themselves that they can do it. After all, the person they are role-playing, isn’t there, so they are using their own inner resources to tell themselves “I can do it”, how to do it, and what has to happen next.
I find this technique a great way to help steer the sessions and help the young person to come up with a variety of ways, sometimes quite creative, in how to deal with the problem.
Talking therapies may mean talking about private thoughts and feelings when you are feeling confused or vulnerable so it’s important that your therapist is professionally trained.
Some questions you could ask yourself before you choose a therapist
• What kind of therapy would suit me?
• What are the different kinds of therapy available?
• What kind of therapist could I work well with? (You may prefer a man or a woman, someone with the same background as you or someone your own age or older).
• How much time or money am I willing to spend?
• How far am I willing to travel?
• Do I mind where I see the therapist? (Options include at a GP practice, clinic, hospital, community centre or in the therapist’s own home)
• Who may be able to recommend a therapist to me? (Friends or your GP may be able to put you in touch with a therapist they respect).
If none of these options are open to you (for whatever reason) the best you can do you for your teenager is be there for them and be open to their ever changing emotions.
By Stuart Nunn