Young Adult Therapy
Why is Therapy for Young Adults Important?
Coming of age is often a difficult life transition for a young adult because there are so many changes that happen at once. The choices a person makes at this time may affect them for the rest of their lives. Young adults (ages 18-30) are gaining independence, new freedoms, new responsibilities, and new roles. But, there is also a lot of uncertainty at this time of life.
During this phase, relationships with family members are redefined, serious romantic relationships may be forming, new friendships may be forming and old friendships may be changing. Young adulthood is a time when some individuals are having their first work experiences. They may also be possibly living on their own for the first time, going to college, or starting a family.
Some young adults may even be feeling so overwhelmed with these changes and avoiding challenges as much as possible. Young Adults today are facing some extra challenges in addition to the usual stressors because of the volatility and uncertainty our society has experienced in the past few years. It is a tough time to be a young adult.
Our therapists at Shift Counseling specialize in helping young adults navigate these feelings effectively and in a healthy lasting way.
How are relationships affected during young adulthood?
During this phase of life, many Young Adults are redefining their relationships with their parents or family of origin. The Young Adult is no longer a child and is striking out in the world on their own. They are going to make mistakes along the way. The Young Adult may desire more freedoms. But, they may also fear the responsibilities of adulthood.
Family members may struggle to recognize the growth a Young Adult has made and continue to treat them like a child. Family members may want to continue to shape and protect the Young Adult, which is understandable, but may also cause conflict.
Young Adults are often also having their first serious romantic relationships, or hoping to start these relationships. There is a steep learning curve when it comes to creating healthy romantic relationships and partnerships. Young Adults are in the process of gaining the experience that will help them develop partnerships, but there are many questions that come up.
How do I start a relationship? Is it OK if I don’t want to be in a relationship? What does a healthy relationship look like? Is the way my partner is treating me ok? Is the way I am treating my partner ok? What do we do if we don’t want the same things? How do we learn to handle conflict better? How do I know if this is the person I want to settle down with? Am I ready to start a family? How do I get through a breakup or divorce? There are so many things to think about and decisions to make.
Friendships often change during Young Adulthood.
Some individuals may continue to spend time with their friends from childhood. But, some Young Adults find that they have changed and are seeking something different from their friendships. Some Young Adults have moved for school or work. So, they may need to start over with new friends. Some Young Adults may be grieving lost friendships or relationships. Other young adults may be navigating relationships with co-workers for the first time.
How can therapy help with the relationship issues that come up during Young Adulthood?
Having an objective but supportive place to explore issues and get feedback can help Young Adults gain the skills they need to handle all of these changes. Family and friends are key elements of any Young Adult’s support system, but they may have their limitations. Young Adults are often going through the process of wrapping their heads around what they have learned from their families growing up and how to best use these lessons moving forward.
Friends are often confused as well, going through the same experiences themselves, and may not have the perspective needed to help provide guidance. An experienced therapist can teach Young Adults what boundaries are, how to set boundaries, and how Young Adults can set reasonable expectations for themselves and others.
Improving Your Relationship with Yourself During Young Adulthood
Issues of identity formation are primary during this phase of life. Young Adults are trying to figure out who they are, how they fit into the world, what is their purpose, and how to like themselves. It is normal for young adults to feel somewhat insecure about themselves because they are going through experiences that will help them define themselves. A trusted therapist can help Young Adult clients process their feelings, gain clarity, learn to appreciate themselves, learn about self-care, and learn how to recover from challenging experiences.
How do role changes affect Young Adults?
Young adults are often getting their first jobs, which are entry-level positions. These jobs are often low paying and low in status, which can be very frustrating for Young Adults. Young Adults are also having to navigate relationships with co-workers and bosses for the first time.
Therapists can help Young Adults recognize the lessons of challenging entry-level positions, and use what they have learned to gain a sense of direction for the future. Therapists can also help Young Adults learn about how to navigate boundaries in professional relationships, how to set reasonable expectations for themselves, how to advocate for themselves in the workplace, and how to achieve work/life balance.
Those Young Adults who go to college may also face a major life transition that can cause depression or anxiety. For many students, this is their first time living outside of the home, so figuring out time management, finding healthy sleep and meal routines, and learning about stress management are keys to success.
Dealing with roommates, and professors, and making big decisions such as choosing a major can be stressful. Managing peer pressure is also a major issue for many college students. Therapists can help college students by helping them find balance, learning to dismantle perfectionism, improving self-care, and setting achievable goals
What are other issues that therapists can help Young Adults address?
Many Young Adults may be experimenting with substances as a way to fit in, connect to peers, or self-medicate to cope with the pressures they are facing. Therapists can provide an objective space to talk openly about substance use and to explore patterns, and assess risks and consequences. Therapists can help Young Adults find ways to cope with the symptoms that may be causing the substance use, find other ways of connecting to peers, and set healthy goals for themselves.
Unprocessed trauma may also start to come up during this phase of life, and Young Adults may feel unprepared to start dealing with this trauma. Therapists can help Young Adults develop a relationship where they can start talking about difficult subjects without getting overwhelmed. Therapists can help young adults learn to talk to others about their experiences and how, when, and with whom to be vulnerable.
Social issues and the impact of social media can be very overwhelming for Young Adults.
Peer pressure and comparing themselves to others on social media may leave Young Adults feeling that they are not good enough. Young Adults are also being exposed to a lot of vicarious trauma on social media. We are living in challenging times and Young Adults may be feeling distraught, hopeless, or even paralyzed. Therapists can help Young Adults process their feelings, make sense of it all, recognize what they are in control of and what they are not in control of, and find a way to move forward when so many things are uncertain.
Young Adults may also be dealing with intergenerational trauma and the impacts of racism.
Parents who suffered from racism or intergenerational trauma may have internalized negative messages about themselves and may have unintentionally passed these messages on to their children. Young Adults may have been “othered” or experienced hateful behavior that can leave them feeling inferior, afraid, and angry.
Many young adults may benefit from learning to challenge the inner critic that they have inherited. Therapists can help Young Adults overcome experiences of stigma, persecution, fear, anger, feeling “less than”, hopelessness, or perfectionism/compulsive achievement. Yes, the world is scary at times but a therapist can help Young Adults overcome barriers and learn to thrive despite adversity.
Begin Therapy for Young Adults in North Riverside, IL
Getting started with a Young Adult therapist is easy. Our North Riverside, IL counseling practice is convenient to multiple areas of Chicagoland including Riverside, La Grange Park, Brookfield, Broadview, and more. If you’re ready to begin, simply follow these steps: