Being a young adult is a very difficult time of life. On the one hand, it is thrilling and exciting. Most teenagers view life as something to be experienced and, hopefully, enjoyed. However, it is also a very stressful time. Adolescence is not easy and yet few adolescents feel truly heard, understood and held in high-regard in an unconditional fashion. “No one is listening to me” is a phrase I hear often in the therapy room. Teenagers tend to feel alienated and misunderstood, treated by their families and the world alike as untrustworthy risk-takers whose voices have been strangled. I see so many young people who are almost ‘lost for words’ They are full of emotion but don’t know how to tell and who to tell. It is a very difficult time – hormones are ranging, personal relationships are coming in to question.

This what therapy can offer; a chance for young people to explore their feelings – some of them huge, see-sawing, conflicting, addictive. Teenagers are far more vulnerable than many people think. Their brains are not yet fully evolved and they are not entirely the people they will be as yet. Yet many of them feel lonely and alone. In a whirlwind of social media, many young people struggle with their identity – with themselves, with others and with the wider world. Relationships with parents, siblings and friends can feel confusing at times. Things that were once simple are now unexpectedly complicated for their relationships with their bodies to their relatiosnhip with how man people click ‘like’ on their Instagram.

It’s a much tougher world out there for young people, tougher than ever before I think. There is a lot of pressure to be popular, liked, sexually attractive, sure and confident. Yet many people feel lost and afraid and don’t feel they have anyone to turn to. They feel out of control as the world swirls ever-more confusingly past them. I have had a lot of experience with young people, teenagers and young adults.

I have seen many clients from the ages to 11 to 24 as a counsellor in Reading’s No 5 Youth Counselling agency. The areas I specialise in are eating disorders, anxiety, issues of gender and sexuality, psychotic interludes, self-harm, depression, addiction, OCD, personality disorders, suicide ideation, isolation, bullying, self-esteem issues, sleep disorders and many other issues.