We all know that puberty and the teenage years are times of uncertainty and growth. The emergence from adolescence toward adulthood, however, can also feel uncertain. For the majority of our lives, we are told where to be and what to do. The expectations are clear. We go to school and we play with friends. Usually, our financial, emotional and health needs are taken care of by our village.
However, when teens finish high school, it can be a time of rising anxiety. Who am I? Who do I want to be? How will I support myself? Who are the people in my support system? Will I be ok if I try something and it doesn’t work out? There are more choices than ever before, which is exciting. However, the emergence from a highly structured family and school life to one in which we are responsible for our own path can also be unsettling and daunting.
This place of launching can bring on worry or other strong feelings, such as grief at the ‘end of childhood’. For instance, the fear of failure can loom big and the number of pathways to take can be overwhelming. As well, factors like social media and hook up culture can lead to worry about relationships or the inability to connect meaningfully and deeply to others. For some people at this stage, the move toward independence is very scary. People in this place may not have had the opportunity to build skills and strategies to cope and build resilience.
The therapy office can be a place for emerging adults to continue to find their support and unpack their concerns. It can be a place of safety to name the issues and remember who they are separate from the problems they are up against. The therapy room can be a place in which they can remember the tools and strategies they already have or learn new skills to add to their toolbox. It can be a place to explore identity and look toward a future with confidence.
Feel free to reach out if you or a loved one would benefit from this exploration.
I can be reached at 416 795 8006, joannasalit.com, or on the Facebook Page: Joanna Salit Counselling for Life’s Transitions.