I love teenagers! Especially the ones that are emotionally lost and trying to find their way. We have all been there haven't we? I think that people forget that adolescence is a time to try out different personas and see which one best suits you, in essence they are seeking a sense of self and the only way to be successful is to try out new and exciting things.
Adolescence is also a time that is marked with angst, insecurity and a lack of focus. We feel torn and are unsure of where to turn. The group that is most at risk for self-harm is the teen population. Although they don't have the stressors and responsibilities of adulthood, they also don't have the confidence and resources that comes with being a full fledged member of society. They are fighting back and trying to fit in with a world that is not always kind.
Next time you see a teen with his pants a little low or a skirt a little short or makeup a little thick or a teen that does not fit your mold, talk to them. Just smile and say hi. That small non-verbal act will lift their spirits and help them to feel understood and validated.
Teen counseling is not for everyone and no counselor is going to connect with every child but I have a pretty good track record and I think it is because I can see them for who they ARE and who they want to be, not who they were. I also help them to build structure around their dreams and share with them how they can get past the angst. I help to instill the with a sense of hope and when you are a confused teen, sometimes that is the first step in the change process; A sense of hope.