ISSUES IN ADOLESCENCE AND HELPFUL COUNSELING APPROACHES
Burns (1994) has noted that during the course of even the most normal adolescent period of development, many young people and their families will encounter difficult "spots" which can be helped by a period of time spent in counseling. In these cases, adolescents may be seen separately or with their parents, or with the entire family as the need arises. The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the typical issues for which young people seek counseling and some of the common strategies counselors use to deal with these issues.
According to Pledge (2003), adolescents face several issues during this period of developmental growth. These are said to be issues related to: understanding self, confronting family relationships, peer pressure and substance use/abuse issues; issues associated with psychological and emotional stress; sexual maturation issues, and school/academic issues. Each of these issues and commonly used counseling techniques for handling them are discussed below.
Jaffe (1998) reports that adolescence is difficult for most youngsters in that it is a period during which an individual challenges self and childhood ideas. It is the beginning of physical, emotional, social, and intellectual growth which brings excitement, delight, anxiety, and misunderstanding. The child, who in elementary school was obedient and academically motivated, may seem disrespectful and lazy by the time he or she is in middle school; this is because adolescence begins the transition from acceptance of adult direction to challenging authority and moving toward self direction.
Regarding handling the challenges and issues related to understanding self, McDowell and Hostetler (1996) state that the counseling goal should be to provide support that will promote identity development, assisting young people to achieve a clear sense of self. They note that the confusion that often is...