I started volunteering in schools in 2006, helping kids develop reading skills and confidence through literacy programs. I also became involved in Smart Girl, a Colorado non-profit prevention and enrichment program. As a Smart Girl leader I worked with middle school-aged/adolescent girls in after-school programs. Our focus was building positive self-esteem and social skills through team-building exercises and fun activities. Part of my role was to educate and provide resources to parents and the community. Girls who participated in this program often reported feeling more confident, happy, and supported in their social circles at school. I also spent time working on the adolescent wing of an inpatient residential facility, seeing a variety of young clients with complex cases. I’ve worked as a high school counselor and was fortunate in my role to be a consistent presence on a daily basis for those kids who lacked stability elsewhere in their lives. As a college and career counselor, I helped blossoming young adults develop a vision for who they wanted to become and create a path to their future.
It’s all too easy for adults to forget what it’s like to be a teenager. It doesn’t happen on purpose. Adults get swept into the undertow of responsibility and everything else that comes with “adulting”-careers, raising a family, financial stress. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to experience the first pangs of heartbreak, the mental gymnastics of what it means to be “me”, the forever barrage of hormones, body changes that don’t always happen at the same time (cue, awkward stage)…not to mention the social pressures of both social media and interpersonal relationships. Adolescence is a uniquely varied, colorful time of life, and counseling can help improve relationships, ease emotional distress, and build confidence.
Some commonly addressed issues in adolescent counseling: