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This month, I am again pleased to welcome Julie Cipes, LPC as my guest blogger. Here she discusses the struggle of Adolescents struggling to hold onto their own truth when the peer group messages are so loud and insistent. Below you will find information on her upcoming group for teenage girls.

Noise comes in many different forms, intensities and varieties. Some noises can be pleasant, such as the noise of a hummingbird in your backyard or the sound of laughter.  Other noises, can be painful to tolerate and challenging to separate from, even in their absence.

As adults, we have the tools we need to separate from noise.  We can take 5 minutes in the morning to decide which mindset would be most helpful as we ready ourselves to begin our day and we have access to mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation.  We know when it’s time to walk away from anxiety-producing stimuli in an effort to maintain some semblance of self-control and we know when it’s time to take a deep breath. Teenages do not have this same set of skills, nor should they, as many of the aforementioned practices are not within their developmental skill set.  

From a social and emotional developmental standpoint, teenagers are learning how to develop their inner voices.  At the same time, they value the opinions of their peers and care about what their friends think. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to define what your inner-voice sounds like, while valuing feedback from peers, and simultaneously filtering out what information to keep and what information to discard.  

Teenagers become confused when the information they hear contradicts the information they believe.  A young woman may like how her body looks, but feel conflicted when social media tells her she needs to lose weight.  Another teen might know that she likes girls, but feel confused when her parents tell her she can only date boys. A different girl might know she needs help in dealing with her feelings, but feel unsure of what to do when her friends tell her that she’ll feel better after smoking some pot.  It is imperative that adolescents find ways to identify and hold onto their inner voices, in spite of conflicting messages from social media, peers and family.

Group Opportunity…

Groups can be a wonderful way for adolescents to share, connect and feel understood. Groups afford teenagers the opportunity to speak in a supportive setting while receiving helpful peer feedback in the presence of a mental health health professional.  During the summer months I will be running a group for female adolescents entering grades 9-11. This group will focus on emotional identification, healthy coping, self-esteem and body image. If you are a teenager and interested in joining this group, or a parent of a teenager who might be, please contact Julie Cipes at 860-302-1507.  

© 2018 Julie Cipes, LPC. Julie is a Licensed Professional Counselor, School Counselor and Psychotherapist.  She specializes in therapeutic work with children, adolescents and young adults in the areas of emotional regulation, anxiety, anger management, self-esteem and changing families.  She is in private practice in Farmington, CT. She can be reached at JulieCipesLPC@gmail.com.

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