Alex, a 14 year old boy
Alex is a fourteen year old who lives at home in Vaughan with his father and older brother. His mother passed away when he was four years of age due to cancer and he maintains sporadic contact with his maternal grandparents and extended family. The family did attend grief counselling several years ago. His family has moved several times over the past years and Alex is having difficulty making friends. He keeps in touch with a friend from elementary school. He spends most of his time on the computer and electronics. Alex was taken to the family doctor by his father as he was worried that his son might be depressed and anxious. Alex agreed to attend counselling sessions upon recommendation of the doctor to address mood issues.
Through counselling Alex could express his anxiety around social situations and fears about being judged by others. He described playing video games with online friends and is most comfortable staying within his home environment. Alex was able to develop skills through cognitive behavior therapy responding well to learning about the connection between thoughts, feelings and behavior. Using a graduated approach he was able to take small steps towards connecting with peers at school and speaking in a variety of situations. Alex’s father also re-established ties with extended family members which enlarged the supports available to Alex.
Tips: How should I approach this?
1) The transition from high school to college and/or university can be very stressful for your teen; there are so many choices available that it can be confusing.
2) Open up a dialogue with your child about their worries. They may be feeling ambivalent and unsure of their choices after high school and may want to change direction completely.
3) With this feeling of pressure, youth have can have difficulty focussing on the here and now.
4) Consult with guidance counsellors and social workers at the current school.
5) Be open to exploring different options suggested.
6) Attend college and university fairs and go to open houses of specific schools being considered.
This scenario is based on a real situation. All details have been changed to protect the identity and confidentiality of the clients.