Counseling for Troubled Youth

When seeking counseling for troubled youth you must first determine what type of counseling is needed and then find a counselor that deals with the specific problem the teen is struggling with. With the wide range of counseling for troubled youth available, read this article before choosing a counselor.

The phrase "counseling for troubled youth" can have a wide range of meanings, particularly since troubled youth and counseling are each used with multiple meanings.

Troubled youth can refer to a child who has some issue that has not yet been diagnosed or it can be a way of avoiding highly technical or unflattering descriptions. In the second case, it may refer to a young person who is a perpetual truant, a juvenile delinquent, or who has a substance abuse issues, a pregnant teenager, or an adolescent with low self-esteem, poor grades, problems with authority, ill-chosen friends, a mental health issue, or a range of other problems.

Counseling encompasses assistance that ranges from the help available through school staff to community mental health workers, and specialists at dedicated schools and treatment centers for young people with particular persistent or chronic issues. Here are some particular types of counseling that may be of use to a troubled youth, depending on his or her issues:

  • School Guidance Counselor - The school guidance counselor may be the first to see the student when that fact that something is not right first comes to light. Though not trained for therapy, the guidance counselor can offer a sympathetic ear and a referral to someone who can offer more help, depending on what seems to be the problem. Dealing with many, many children each year, school guidance counselors may have a pretty good feel for what the next step should be.
  • Other School Staff - Schools often employ social workers and school psychologists, all of whom are qualified to help counsel a student, provided the issue at hand is within their realm of expertise. They, too, can provide referrals to outside agencies and services, should the need arise.
  • Pediatrician - Although mental health is not the pediatrician's only concern, if a child has a good relationship with his or her pediatrician, or if the pediatrician notices something or is asked to by the parent,, some initial counseling may begin at the doctor's office. If there is a mental or physical health issue involved, the pediatrician may provide a referral, but may continue to be a contact.
  • Pastors, Ministers, and Priests - Biblical counseling may be a part of a troubled youth's road to healing. This will depend on the nature of the issue, the family's faith, and the youth's openness to this type of assistance.
  • Grief counseling - If the youth is acting out following a death or other significant loss, it may be that specific grief counseling would be helpful.
  • Pregnancy counseling - If a young woman becomes pregnant unexpectedly, pregnancy counseling may assist her in making decisions and/or preparing herself for the role of motherhood.
  • Crisis Counseling - Offered by helplines and clinics, for example, crisis counseling is meant to address a drastic situation effectively until long-term help can be sought. Even though suicide hotlines may be the best known, anybody who has reached his or her ability to cope can find some type of crisis counseling.

Counseling may take place individually or in groups, involve only the person in trouble or include his or her family, be short- or long-term, and be done according to different philosophies or programs.

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