What Makes a Good Teen Counselor?

By Marie Miguel posted 07-30-2018 15:57

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Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

As a counselor, it’s essential to be a good listener. If you work with teens, this may ring true even more so. You not only listen in a genuine way, but you also empathize in the same manner. Teens can tell if someone is being authentic or just trying to reassure them, rather than seeking to resolve their problems. A good teen counselor establishes trust within the relationship. The way they do this is to create a safe environment where their client can reveal what’s on their mind without pressure or judgment.

Some teens come into counseling with a defensive attitude. It can be challenging to break through that barrier. A competent teen counselor is patient and understands that it might take some time to get to a teen’s core issues. Teens need to feel like they are understood before they get into revealing their deep dark secrets – including sharing experiences or thoughts that might divulge that they are actually suffering from depression. This is particularly the case if abuse is involved. It can be frightening and painful for a teen to reveal that they are being abused. Once they develop a solid trusting relationship with their counselor, hopefully they will start opening up about the abuse or anything else they need to talk about.

Teens can exhibit volatile behavior at times, including in counseling. A sensitive teen counselor doesn’t take this behavior personally and instead, tries to understand where it’s coming from. When a teen lashes out, it’s likely they are in pain or struggling with articulating painful emotions, and they find that lashing out is the only way they know to express these frustrations. As a counselor for teens, you must be ready to handle unpredictable behavior. You may think you know what to expect from your client, only to find their demeanor changes from one session to the next.

Teens are going through a lot of changes, so it’s expected that what they need from a counselor might change too. It’s essential to be flexible when it comes to satisfying their needs to maintain an ongoing counseling relationship. During one session, a teen might need to be nurtured and feel supported, and in another session, they might need firm boundaries.

This might sound obvious, but in order to be a great teen counselor, you should like working with that age group. If you don’t have a passion for working with adolescents, the teens you treat will sense this and the relationship won’t be as strong between you.

Adolescence is a fascinating period of a person’s life where they are starting to develop into an independent, unique individual. It’s a time where one’s identity is explored and developed. Teens are experimenting with different interests and finding out who they are. They are also exploring which peer groups they identify with, and learning to confidently express their opinions. For some teens, this can be a challenge, and a good teen counselor knows how to encourage their client to have confidence in their opinions.

Remember – as a teen counselor, you have the ability to change people’s lives for the better. This is a powerful role that can benefit both you and the teen you are treating, and can maybe change your life, in addition to your client’s. If you’re thinking about becoming a teen counselor, this can be a wonderful way to make a difference. Remember how hard the teenage years can be, and reflect on your own teenage years. Drawing from your personal experiences can help you help your clients in a more genuine and personal way.

This is a sponsored post from BetterHelp.com