"Are you a counselor?"
I get asked this question nearly every day when I am talking with parents of anxious and depressed teenagers or teens themselves who are looking for solutions to their anxiety and confidence issues.
Parents want to know their child is safe, confident, and thriving. When anxiety ramps up leaving your teenager in a puddle of tears, withdrawing from their friends, sleeping more or hardly sleeping, avoiding school, etc., mom and dad step in with love and plenty of questions; oftentimes beginning with, "what's wrong". It seems like a simple question with an easy answer but for teens dealing with mental health issues, the answer likely isn't based around a logical problem. The answer sounds like "nothing" or "I don't know". When parents begin searching for help with their son or daughter, there is often resistance from the teen which leads to parents fearing of doing the wrong thing or making it worse. Many of these parents are at their wit's end. They feel terrified and heartbroken because of the struggle their teenager is experiencing, on top of feeling lost on how to help them. I am often told that their son won't talk to anyone, their daughter refuses to take care of herself, or about the comments they make regarding their worth, their life, or that they want to die. Rightfully, these parents are scrambling for help and want to quickly fix and make better the problem so they have their happy go lucky child back.
This leads me back to my original question. Am I a counselor? The answer is no; I'm a coach. I coach teenagers and young adults who struggle with anxiety & self-confidence, and teach them how to get calm, focused, and make peace with anxious moments so they can live the life they want. Both coaching and counseling can benefit teens. Both serve distinct and important purposes. So, how is coaching different than counseling, and how do you, as a parent or a teenager, know if counseling or coaching would be a better fit? The key to choosing which one, or often both working together, is in the process and the focus. To help you better understand the roles of both counselors and coaches, I have created this chart that shows the similarities and differences between counseling and coaching services.
In cases of severe depression, suicidal ideology, self-harm, and substance abuse, counseling and therapy are always necessary!
If coaching looks like the right answer for your teenager, I invite you to schedule a Breakthrough Session with me. During this 45-60 minute conversation, we will talk about what your son or daughter wants their life and future to look like, why it is important for them, and get clear on at least one path they can take to start toward that future version of themself. At the end of the call, your teen will come away with clarity, a first step, and an idea if I may or may not be the right coach to get them where they want to go. There will, of course, also be time for you to ask questions.
Making the decision to get help for your child is a strong and empowering first step toward a life of big dreams and overall wellness. No matter which route you choose, I congratulate you for your dedication to helping your teenager thrive and succeed. Remember, "The hall of love has 10,000 swords, don't be afraid to choose one." - Rumi