It’s very common for teenagers and young people to experience some kind of emotional, behavioural, or relationship difficulties. These might include depression, worry, trouble with friendships, lack of confidence, arguing at home, issues with body-image and eating, angry outbursts, getting into trouble at school, social anxiety, or simply feeling things aren’t quite right. It might be possible to overcome these difficulties on your own, but sometimes they feel too hard to manage, or they start getting worse, or they just don’t go away. It’s important to know that you can always ask for help – from a friend, parent, teacher, trusted adult, or trained professional.
If you decide to talk to a professional, you might want to do your own research into what kind of talking would be most useful. You may want to be involved in decisions about who you talk to, what you’d like to share, and who you’d like to join you (including parents, family, or someone else who knows you well). These are decisions that can affect you and your happiness, so it makes sense for you to have a say in how it all works.
One option is to see a Clinical Psychologist. There is lots of information available online, but here are some basic facts to start off with!
- Clinical Psychologists are trained to work with people of all ages, across the lifespan. Some of us choose to specialise in working with children and young people, which means we're experienced in working with the kinds of issues you might be struggling with. However, we're also very aware that you're an individual with your own thoughts, feelings, and history. These are what make you unique, and we will need to spend time getting to know and understand you.
- Clinical Psychologists specialise in “talking therapies". This usually involves an initial assessment meeting (or sometimes two) to get to know you and find out about your experiences, followed by a block of therapy sessions. We may ask a lot of questions, but will never make you talk about something if you don't want to, and will usually be guided by what you want to work on. Their priority is to fully understand what's going on for you, and then work together to decide what you or those around you can do to make things better.
- Depending on your age, it might be necessary to include your parents or main carer in the initial meeting and review sessions. However, it’s up to you how much they are involved outside of this – some young people are happy for their parents to know almost everything, whilst others would rather keep things more private. Either is fine!
- What you talk about in sessions is confidential, which means it won’t be shared with anyone else without your consent. The only exception to this is risk, and information might need to be shared if there were concerns about your safety - it’s a Clinical Psychologist’s job to do everything they can to prioritise your safety and wellbeing.
- If you are aged 16 or over and have any questions about me, how I work, or whether I might be able to help, please do just email me. If you are under 16 years old you will need to ask your parents or main carer to contact me instead. Either way I will do my best to answer any questions you may have before deciding whether or not you would like to meet for an initial assessment.