In my journey as a newcomer to private practice, I've been struck by the substantial interest from young adults. In the ever-evolving world of counselling, one unchanging truth shines through: the significance of establishing a connection with clients, regardless of their age. Meeting them precisely where they are is the key to unlocking the therapeutic journey.
Picture a sunny afternoon when Lily, a young client, entered my counselling practice. She carried the weight of young adult uncertainties, laden with academic pressures, friendship dynamics, and self-discovery challenges. Our initial conversation revealed that traditional counselling approaches might not fully resonate with her. Lily had grown up in a digital age, where social media portrayed unattainable ideals, and her smartphone felt like an extension of herself. To genuinely connect with her, I realised I needed to adapt my counselling approach.
Discovering common ground
The initial step in connecting with the younger generation is finding common ground. In my case, it involved immersing myself in the world of social media. Already active on TikTok and Instagram, I started following trends and gaining insights into the platforms they frequented. This allowed me to engage with them on subjects that held significant emotional weight from a counselling perspective.
Technology is an integral part of the lives of the younger generation. Embracing it can be a game-changer. Offering online counselling sessions or text-based support can make therapy more accessible and comfortable for them. It's about meeting them in their digital domain.
Lily's journey: a story
As Lily and I continued our counselling journey, she opened up about her struggles. One day, she shared a meme that perfectly encapsulated her feelings. It depicted a duck serenely gliding on the water's surface, while beneath, its feet paddled furiously. It vividly expressed the pressure to appear flawless while grappling with inner turmoil. That meme became a pivotal point in our sessions. We delved into the gap between outward appearances and inner emotions. It marked a breakthrough moment, all made possible by embracing her digital language and enhancing our connection.
Counselling the younger generation demands a willingness to adapt and meet them where they are. It's about embracing their culture, their language, and their technology. Even a series of six sessions can provide young individuals with a valuable glimpse into the counselling process. This positive experience can serve as a foundation, making them feel more at ease for future sessions if the need arises. I wholeheartedly believe that a strong therapeutic relationship in an environment that my clients are comfortable with will bring positive change to young adults, emerging as stronger, more resilient individuals ready to confront the future with confidence.
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BACP Children, Young People and Families division
BACP CYPF is for practitioners and other professionals interested in counselling and psychotherapy for children and young people.
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