Saturday, 10 April 2021

Feeling Stressed or Worried?

 














Counselling and Psychotherapy can really help. I often work with individuals who want help with Stress, often caused by a major life change or a decision that's been difficult to make. Therapy can support individuals by working through Stress, enabling clarity and problem solving. If you are suffering with Stress or Worry and think you would benefit from some support get in touch.

Emma Appleby is the Clinical Director of Impact North West, providing:- Counselling, Psychotherapy and Coaching to Adults and Adolescents. Call 07843 387410. www.impactnorthwest.co.uk


Friday, 12 March 2021

Adolescent Anxiety and Brain Development.



Sadly, due to the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic, social isolation and the restrictions that have come with it, anxiety is on the rise. My Counselling and Psychotherapy practice has seen a huge increase in referrals for help with anxiety in both adults and particularly, teenagers. So one of the most frequent questions I get asked by parents is, " How can I help my teenager with anxiety?" 



Studies on the teenage  brain are increasingly  revealing why anxiety is heightened during adolescence. Scientists  have focused on the connection between the brain's Limbic System, particularly the Amygdala  and the Prefrontal Cortex. These connections  are essential  for regulating emotions. The Amygdala  and  Prefrontal Cortex connections  are slow to  develop during adolescence. This means that connections  in the brain that help  to  regulate emotions  are in flux during this development  period, making the adolescent particularly  vulnerable  to anxiety and stress. Alongside the social isolation and restrictions and losses because of Covid 19 it’s not surprising that adolescent anxiety has escalated.


The Facts:-


  • In a teenager the Prefrontal Cortex of the brain- which is the part helping us make reasoned decisions, be logical, think through consequences and self-regulate, is not fully developed yet. However the part of the brain responsible for our instant emotional reaction to events, the Limbic System, and the Amygdala is fully developed and it can take over decision making very easily.

  • It's  therefore sometimes harder for an adolescent to regulate emotions. 

  • Teenagers may often think with their emotions.

  • Emotions can  be misinterpreted  as can facial expressions. This can often lead to miscommunication.

  • Given that the adolescent brain is still developing, this influences how teenagers experience, demonstrate and read emotions. 

  • “You may often hear your teenager say, “I feel anxious or worried about what people think of me, but it’s really hard to think differently.” 

  • Teenagers are driven to be more independent and be more interested in their peers than adults and often prefer to find their own ways to solve problems. 


How can parents help?




  • Modelling our own emotional  regulation can really help. 

  • Keep body language open and clear, and state what you’re feeling. Facial expression and body language can be misinterpreted by adolescents and can lead to heightened emotions like anxiety.

  • Listening without jumping in to fix, is a great way to enable your teenager to be able to think independently. 

  • When they are sharing something difficult with you, it’s great to ask,” How can I help?  Do you want advice, or me  to listen,” this is a great way to validate and promote emotional regulation and problem solving. 

  • It helps to say, “So what you’re saying is------,” adolescents need to feel heard.

  • Acknowledge what your adolescent feels- say, “So you’re feeling-----”, this validates feelings and emotions. 

  • Support and acknowledge independent  problem solving

  • Walking and talking or talking during an activity is a great way to check in with your teenager.

  • Offer recognition, when an adolescent has found a way to regulate their anxiety, they can be wonderfully creative.

  • It’s normal to have some anxiety.

  • Improving our knowledge of the changes in the adolescent brain, and sharing this, can be affirming, teenagers need to know that many other teenagers feel the same thing and they are not alone.

  • If you’re concerned about your teenager, seek professional help.

  • This is a developmental phase, even though it may be difficult at times, it is an exciting time of learning and possibility.


The good news is that there is much we can offer in the way of support to enable our adolescents to learn to regulate they’re anxiety. One of my wonderful adolescent clients very wisely said “When I have less anxiety and worry, there’s more room for me to think clearly and focus on better things.”


If you or your adolescent are suffering from anxiety and think you may benefit from some Counselling, Psychotherapy, or Coaching, please get in touch. www.impactnorthwest.co.uk


Emma Appleby is the Clinical Director of Impact North West, providing:- Counselling, Psychotherapy and Coaching to Adults and Adolescents. 



Ref: Dan Siegel. The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.







Friday, 19 February 2021

How do Children and Adolescents understand Grief?



Sadly, because of the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic, many of us are coming into contact with grief and loss more frequently. As a Counsellor and Psychotherapist working with Children and Adolescents, parents will often ask me, how can they help their child cope with bereavement and loss? I often refer to this video from Child Bereavement  UK.  

https://youtu.be/cBA2U_AFBng

If you or anyone in your family has been affected by bereavement and feel that Counselling would help, please get in touch.

Feeling Stressed or Worried?

  Counselling and Psychotherapy can really help. I often work with individuals who want help with Stress, often caused by a major life chang...