No one feels good all the time. Everyone, at times, has strong, uncomfortable or angry feelings about things going on in their lives. For young people, this may be experienced in their family through outbursts or isolating themselves or through "acting out" behaviors. Good listening and communication skills between parents and young people can help during these time periods. When youth have these feelings or present "troublesome" behaviors, try talking with them, encouraging them to share their feelings and concerns. When one member of a family experiences a problem or is hurting in some way, all members of the family are affected. If attempts at talking do not work out and the concerns continue, counseling can help.
Counseling can help a young person or a family change many of their uncomfortable feelings into more comfortable ones. Other times, people talk with counselors to help them with decisions they are trying to make or problems they are trying to solve. Through counseling, you, your child and your family can learn to better understand each other's feelings and improve communication.
When is Counseling Needed?
If you find the feelings or behaviors are interfering with normal everyday activities, there may be a need for counseling. The following are signs that someone may need counseling.
o sudden changes in mood or behavior
o depression-feeling unhappy for a long time
o anxiety-strong feelings of fear or nervousness
o losing one's temper over small things
o physical aches and pains that have no known physical cause
o dropping grades
Who does Counseling?
Sometimes friends, relatives, school counselors or religious leaders can help by listening to the problems and making suggestions on how to deal with the situation or help identify where to get help.
Sometimes problems seem too hard or too personal to share with someone close and/or may require someone with a special expertise. In that case, it's good to talk things through with a counselor. Many counselors who work with young people believe it is important to see the whole family for counseling. They recognize that all family members are affected and must work together for change to occur. Some young people and families are resistant to counseling or talking together as a family. Counseling can occur with individual family members or with the family together.
Where Do I Find Counseling?
There are many places to go for counseling. It may be helpful to talk with your child's guidance counselor, the school nurse, or a clergy member, or even your teen about where to go for help. Also, if you are still not sure of where to go, The Mental Health Association has a guide to finding mental health services. Call 585-256-0590 for a copy of Finding Your Way.
The following provide counseling services. Many are targeted specifically for youth. When you call, ask about fees, health insurance coverage, how much you're responsible to pay for, and how to make an appointment.