Adolescence is a time of unavoidable change in multiple aspects of every young person’s life, physically, cognitively, emotionally and socially. Often viewed as rebellious, their need to make choices for themselves can place families in a difficult position as they seek to balance individual needs and the requirements of the family as a whole. Recognising that adolescence can be a difficult developmental stage for individuals as well as parents and other members of the family, Bangkok Counselling Service (BCS) offers a dedicated program, The BCS Wellbeing Project, to support youth aged 11 to 18 years.
Counselling can help young people address the issues, exploring their new sense of identity, acknowledging difficult emotions and preparing for new responsibilities and goals. By being able to express their needs and feelings appropriately, young people will develop into competent and confident adults.
Individual Wellbeing Support
The aim of wellbeing family work is to encourage honest and direct communication between young people and their families. For some, this is a space for their voices to be heard by their parents; for others, it offers parental support and an avenue to express concerns. All members of the immediate family are encouraged to participate, including siblings. Family activities and team building exercises are used to improve communication and encourage the growth of a supportive family dynamic, while also offering the tools to enable families to identify and manage difficult issues themselves when they arise in the future.
The BCS Wellbeing Project includes Individual Wellbeing, which is one-to-one emotional support with a qualified young people’s counsellor in a safe and supportive environment. Young people can freely voice their thoughts, feelings and opinions about the chaos that may be within or around them. The objective of this work is to support the young person to develop a greater sense of self and of the world around him or her. Weekly sessions are for 45 to 60 minutes in length and 6 sessions are usually offered to start.
The first meeting or Interview Session is an opportunity for the young person to interview the counsellor, to ask any questions he or she would like answered. The counsellor will answer any question to the best of his or her ability. After the interview, the young person can discuss with his or her parents how the meeting with the counsellor was, before deciding to continue.
The initial stage of the work involves building a therapeutic or working alliance between the counsellor and the young person. There may be some resistance from young people if they are not fully aware of the issues that brought them to BCS. They may not see the issues as problematic, and therefore not see the need for support. However, a positive and non-judgmental relationship with someone who will genuinely listen and try to understand the concerns and worries can be a productive experience and a good model for young people to learn social skills and how to establish and maintain healthy relationships with others.
Activities such as games, art work, creative writing and expression are used during sessions to facilitate the young person’s exploration of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Experiments to manage stress and anger such as breathing exercises will help the young person develop a personal tool box of skills and recourses to manage these difficulties. Sessions can be conducted in person in Bangkok or online.
Support in a Group Setting
In addition to individual and family wellbeing work, the young people’s Wellbeing Project features a group work and psycho-educational program on developmental and psychological issues that pertain to the stages of development for each age/ year group; themes include managing puberty, identity issues, self-esteem, body image and relationships, to name a few.
The program, while disseminating information and utilising an informal education model to create learning opportunities for young people, will create a safe space for participants to develop an understanding of common issues, ask difficult questions, talk about things that worry them and develop the tools to find answers to the dilemmas that challenge them on their journey into adulthood.
More About Bangkok Counseling Service (BCS): BSC provides English and Thai language counseling, psychotherapy, and psychological and mental health support to individuals, couples, families, young people and groups in Bangkok and the surrounding areas. Services also include online counseling throughout Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the ASEAN region. In addition, BCS provides training, workshops, seminars and corporate support and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to companies and schools in Thailand. Please e-mail [email protected] if you would like more information or to arrange a visit to discuss your specific needs.