Therapy for the Young Adult
Young adults, or Millennials if you will (don’t you love being called that?), occupy a special place in my heart. Most likely because I am one myself, and I know first hand the struggles we face as a generation.
We live in an exceedingly complicated world these days, and it seems as if happiness eludes us more than ever. Many of us have lost a sense of who we are or what we want out of life, and instead experience crippling anxiety, self-doubt and loneliness.
Does this describe you?
While we all have our own story, I commonly see young adult clients grappling with some similar issues and questions. Here is some of what I see most often.
1) You feel like a fake. You’re functional, responsible, and do all the “right-things”, but underneath it all you feel like you’re barely holding on. Ever wonder why #adulting became such a thing? it’s because SO many of us who have reached adulthood, feel very much like impostors. Even for the seemingly high achieving who have perhaps graduated college, secured advanced degrees, and potentially landed well paying jobs in a competitive field, there is still an inescapable feeling of self-doubt, pervasive sense of anxiety, and underlying emptiness with the life you are leading.
2) You don’t trust your own decision making. Do I take this job? Which Netflix show do I start next? Do I move in with my significant other? is my significant other even right for me? Should I start vegan or paleo? Analysis Paralysis is a real thing. We generally think of opportunity and options as a good thing, but we now live in an age where the options and choices and access to information is endless and overwhelming. The result? Simple decisions become impossible to make and we experience chronic anxiety and loads of uncertainty. Many of my clients know they want things to change, they want to work towards implementing new habits or reaching new goals, but how to bridge that gap is unclear. The fear of making the wrong move haunts you.
3) You are always comparing yourself to others. Its human nature to assess how we are fitting in at times. But for some, there seems to be a nonstop dialogue in your head counting all the ways in which you don’t measure up. “I’m not far enough in my career”, “ I’m not as smart as my friends”, “shouldn’t I have a stable relationship at this point in my life?”, “I’m not caught up on current events” “I’m not attractive enough” and the list goes on. With the dawn of modern technology and our ability to connect with the rest of the world, we are now able to compare ourselves to 7 billion other people. Its a recipe for never feeling good enough.
4) You are very lonely. I can’t tell you how often I get asked the question “how do people make friends at this age?” Even though we have the ability to connect with anyone in the world, we are actually more isolated and disconnected than in times past. It could be that you have relationships, but they don’t feel fulfilling or genuine, and maybe the thought of putting effort into establishing or deepening relationships with others seems too hard, or not worth it. Or maybe you’ve always struggled with relationships and have no idea where to begin in trying to connect with others.
5) You experience a Lack of Joy, meaning, or purpose. Life just feels like a grind. Its a constant and never ending to-do list. You’re not even really sure what keeps you going, but you just keep going. You cant remember the last time you felt really good about your life. you feel like a shell of yourself.
In addition to these issues I work with young adults working through the following issues:
Okay, So how can Psychotherapy be useful for you?
Well, the answer is, in a lot of different ways :) and it depends on what you feel like you want or need most. Part of my job is to help you understand yourself better. I listen for themes and patterns that may be affecting you in ways outside of your awareness. Together we can identify your stuck points, break them down into manageable pieces, and work on taking steps towards your goals. Sometimes that means we are learning new skills to better manage your difficult thoughts and feelings, other times that means we are working through your past experiences that have negatively contributed to your current situation. And Often it means just giving you the space to talk through current life stressors.
It may sound cliche, but my top priority is to meet your specific needs. that means our first few sessions are about the two of us just getting to know each other. I can cater the way I provide therapy in many different ways, and its important to me (and should be to you!) that we take the time to figure out what is best for you.
How long does therapy last? will I become dependent on therapy?
For most people I would argue that the goal of therapy is to help you become you’re own therapist. My approach is about helping you to find confidence in your own ability to handle life’s challenges. The length of your experience in therapy depends on many factors such as your presenting issue, current coping skills, and level of motivation during treatment. Counseling can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Someone who may need help adjusting to a life change such as moving to a new city may only need a couple months of counseling, while someone who has a long and complex history of abuse may need support for several years as they heal.
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I know you’re not here because you want to be. Things are rough. You’re lost, confused, need something to change. This choice point may be the hardest part, but if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, reach out now. Its the first step in reclaiming your life.