In order for teenagers to succeed in therapy it is my belief and experience that their parents need to accompany them on their therapeutic journey and that everyone understands the following;
- First and foremost we need to ensure' that your teenager wants to embrace change.
- Secondly that both the teenager and you the parent understand the commitment, discipline and dedication that is required to achieve success.
- Thirdly we all need to understand the problems that have arisen and how we will be able to move forward and make positive change.
- Finally, I think it is absolutely vital that you the parent/s feel supported. This is because by the time you contact me you may have been through a whole host of negative, fearful, helpless, guilty feelings and thoughts.
The following describes how one parent felt-
“As a parent of three children, I can honestly say nothing prepared me for their teenage years. These years have been filled with emotional and hormonal highs as well as crashing lows when I often felt ill-equipped to give each of my children the support they needed. Each child had their own set of issues and they often felt insurmountable. I cannot tell you how many times I heard “You don’t understand”, which made me feel even more helpless. Sometimes my unconditional love, patience, hugs and boundaries simply were not enough. I often felt alone, lost and desperate.”
Perhaps this caption sounds familiar?
- The statistics state that 1 in 10 teenagers will have a mental health problem and that 70% of these may not receive the right level of therapeutic assistance to help them address or overcome their issues.
- If you are a parent reading this I am sure you are aware of the multitude of issues that teenagers face.
- Depression. 60% of teenagers who have depression are at risk of committing suicide. Terrifyingly this is the third highest cause of death for children, teenagers and young adults between the ages of 10 and up to 24 years.
- Anxiety. This covers a broad spectrum. Exam anxiety is one of the biggest problems that teens experience and if self-help strategies are not learnt whilst at school then the pressure of university can exacerbate this further.
- Social media. The effects of this can create low self-esteem, envy, negative comparisons to friends, their environment and their abilities. It is also being linked to distorted self-beliefs resulting in body dysmorphic disorder.
- Bullying. Can result in mental health issues which are linked to low self-esteem and poor school performance.
- We cannot underestimate the impact or the consequences that mental health issues have on parents and families as well as on their children. In my professional opinion I think it is very important that you the parent/s feel heard, understood, included as well as encouraged whilst your teenager is in therapy. In order to achieve positive change we need to implement a collaborative therapeutic approach this means that we work as a team.
- The outline of how I effectively reinforce change for parents and teenagers will be discussed after your child’s Initial consultation. My aim is to assist you to regain hope. I will explain your role, reinstate confidence and empower you so that you feel successfully supported to be able to experience the benefits from implementing positive changes.
This is what one family had to say-
"As parents of a 16 year old facing mental health issues, we felt extremely scared, worried and helpless. This wasn't a situation that we ever imagined ourselves being in and we soon realised that we were completely out of our depth and needed outside support.
We were involved in our daughter's care plan from the start.
Elva thoroughly explained how Solution Focused therapy works.
She advised us on how important our role would be to enable the process to run smoothly. We embraced Elva's positive approach, even though we were apprehensive at first. We were concerned about follow up work out of the sessions at home, feeling that our daughter would not react well to our intervention.
However, working together enabled us to witness her opening up, growing in confidence and finally returning to her old self."
Several months on I received this note -
I just thought I would drop you note to let you know how our daughter is doing.
She had a good long summer break from school and she got a job working locally, this has helped her confidence no end. She had excellent GCSE results, consisting of mainly A's and A*'s, and is now studying Psychology, PE, Biology and Chemistry at A Level. She has started socialising more and she is eating well.
It’s lovely to have our daughter back.
Once again we would like to say a huge THANK YOU to you. You had such a positive influence on our daughter as well as on our family. She still listens to your CD and talks about the various coping strategies that she learnt from you."