As a psychologist for many years practicing in college communities, I have had the opportunity to provide counseling services to a great many young adults. “Young adults” refers to the age segment roughly between 17-25. Most of these young adults come from white middle to upper class families and struggle with a variety of issues.
Making the transition from adolescence to young adult to adult is a normal yet challenging process. Some young adults navigate it smoothly while others have a great deal of difficulty.
Leaving the home is both difficult for the adult child and his/her parents. They seek freedom and independence but are often unsure and afraid of it at the same time. Important life decisions regarding which college to apply to, what subjects to major in, where to live, how to pay for it, etc., are all part of the stress of change.
Parents often struggle as they recognize in most cases, their influence and control is often subordinate to their young adults peer group. Young adults may suffer from low self esteem and attempt to cope or compensate in unhealthy ways through drug and alcohol involvement, hanging with bad crowds and getting into trouble or they can turn inwards and struggle with depression associated with needing peer approval and negatively comparing themselves to others. High achievers may drown themselves with studying in the hopes that straight A’s will make them feel better about themselves. Much of the pressure young adults experience is self- induced by exaggerated strivings and unrealistic expectations either set by others or themselves.
Anxiety may increase and the young graduate finds it increasingly difficult to get a job and support themselves financially. Large numbers of young adults mistakenly berate themselves and feel inadequate. Forced to return back home, they may become bitter, angry and/or depressed. Even finding and keeping a job can be difficult and disappointing. Working with and for others, dealing with perceived unfairness, and working long hours to get ahead may not be the reward the college graduate believed he would be getting.
As young adults marry and have children, the responsibilities and challenges multiply. Free time seems to evaporate and it is easy to get lost in a boring and unsatisfying routine. Pressures, lack of time and financial stress can put a great strain of important relationships.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy counseling aims at clarifying mistaken ideas, negative thinking and false beliefs as well as restoring a more positive and healthy way of thinking and living. As a structured and goal focused treatment approach, cognitive behavioral counseling, provides the young adult with hope based on empowering them with practical and emotional skills training not only to feel better but to get better.
Cognitive behavioral counseling tends to be short term. Over a series of 12-20 visits, clients learn important skills and lessons that will last for a lifetime. As progress develops and continues sessions occur at les frequent intervals.
Many of my clients report that the help they received has been extremely valuable in handling life’s challenges much better than they would have before the counseling. Even when past clients return, many times they are just seen for a ‘tune up” of a few visits and they are back on track.
I enjoy working with young adults. They are often eager to get help, motivated to change and very quick learners. They get it and use it!
For related articles on this and other topics visit the blogs and articles section of my website, www.cognitvetherapy.cc .