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High School Problems

Luke, a 17 year in last year of high school

Luke is a 17 year old boy attending his last year of high school. His parents are divorced and he lives mostly with his mother and younger siblings. He has done OK in high school but has become very fixated on his marks and performance at school. He has dropped out of all extracurricular activities including hockey as he wants to improve his marks for university.

He is having trouble sleeping at night and has trouble getting up for school in the morning. He has been going to school late almost every day. He stopped getting together with friends as he has too much homework. He recently broke up with her girlfriend of six months. (According to Luke “she dumped me for my best friend.”)

His parents don’t know what to do. Luke is supposed to be applying for university and is now having second thoughts.

I met Luke for ten sessions in Thornhill, initially focussing on engaging him in counselling. He did respond well to the skills learned in cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which dealt with challenging thoughts, mindfulness exercises and developing a healthier life style. He was also able to talk about his feelings of rejection from the breakup with his girlfriend. His anxiety around school performance and future plans lessened and with family support readjusted his plans for post-secondary education.

When exam time hits, stress levels increase. Here are simple tips:

1) Pace yourself which means taking short breaks. Use a timer to help you.

2) Focus on healthy lifestyle such as: eating, sleeping at night and taking stretch breaks. Body needs fuel to regenerate itself.

3) Practice mindful studying which means putting away distractions.

4) Use breathing and stress reduction techniques that work for you.

This scenario is based on a real situation. All details have been changed to protect the identity and confidentiality of the clients.