Banner created by youth at a 12-week ACT group. One example of how doing ACT can be creative, flexible, and even fun!
Dr. Susie McAfee
By early adolescence young people can benefit from 1:1 therapy. As they develop physically, emotionally, and intellectually, they become increasingly self-reflective and (hyper) aware of the social world around them. Youth this age are often reluctant to share fully with their parents. Concerns during this time may be highly personal (sexual development, identity confusion, feelings towards parents and other family members) and may not be appropriate to share with mom and dad. Regular access to a trusted helping professional can protect youth from adverse outcomes, support age appropriate independence, support a healthy self-concept, and build resilience. Investing in your child's mental health early will pay off down the road.
We often think that teens "grow up" and become adults once they graduate high school. The truth is that young adults have few responsibilities in their early 20s and, whether they know it or not, they are often lacking a role in society. Caught between leaving childhood behind and becoming a "real" adult, young people face a very difficult transition stage where they are often harshly judged and/or self-critical about how they are doing and where they are "going" in life. Some may be living out on their own for the first time, others may still be living in the family home, and some seem to bounce between independence and dependency for years. Many factors (emotional, financial, practical) create barriers in navigating the gaps that exist during this time period. While recognizing the challenges of the social-cultural context there is also a need to emphasize personal responsibility and ownership of the individual problems hindering successful "adulting." Young adults are perfect candidates for psychotherapy which allows them a supportive space to explore where they are now and where they'd like to be. Sadly this is also a time when many youth do not have health insurance, however, in some cases there is coverage for young adults under a parents health plan so checking into this possibility is worthwhile.