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Critically respond to the characteristics of adolescents and examine the implications both personally and professionally.

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Critically respond to the characteristics of adolescents and examine the implications both personally and professionally. Adolescence, the period of life between childhood and maturity, may be regarded as one of the most crucial stages through which the human individual passes in his journey from conception to death. For many, it is seen as the key stage in development. Changes in physique and the maturation of the reproductive system bring with them associated changes in emotions and the whole pattern of psychological characteristics is restructured as the individual strives to attain a sense of identity. Development in intellectual functioning provides the adolescent with the ability to question himself, his family, his world, and his values (Garrod, Smulyan, Powers, and Kilkenny, 1992). Adolescents begin to develop principles- not necessarily those that adults would like to have them develop- but nevertheless principles of conduct. They are deeply influenced by "what is done" among their peers or among people slightly older than themselves, whom they respect. Adolescents tend to revolt against whatever code of morals may be in vogue in their corner of the world, and they can become completely obsessed by almost any moral problem. They are normally prejudiced and uncompromising in whatever attitude they adopt. This stage of growth is a difficult one for them and for everyone else, but perhaps it is necessary as a step from the unthinking acceptance of childhood to the independent thinking of an adult. During this period, the adolescent is an unreasonable creature. ...read more.


Adolescents use the peer group to express their divided feelings and incoherent images in accordance with their emotional needs and to reinforce their behaviour as they conform to peer norms and behaviour styles (Tatar, 1995). Adolescents perceive popularity and attainment of social status among peers as beneficial and positive, reflecting their desirability as a friend. Adolescents also form larger, more loosely organised groups called crowds. Unlike the more intimate clique, membership into the crowd is based on reputation and stereotype. Whereas the clique serves as the main context for direct interaction, the crowd grants the adolescent an identity within the larger social structure. Adolescents are very aware of the differential social status conferred upon different groups, and this knowledge can affect self-evaluation: categorisation of the self as a member of an unpopular or lower status group can be detrimental to feelings of self-worth and self-esteem (Denholm, Horniblow, and Smalley, 1992). Susceptibility to peer pressure is reported to peak between the ages of twelve to sixteen years (Tarrant, North, Edridge, Kirk, Smith, and Turner, 2001). Peer conformity is a complex process that varies with the adolescent's age and need for social approval and with the situation. Adolescents reported that they felt greatest pressure to conform to the most obvious aspects of peer culture, such as, dressing and grooming like everyone else and participating in social activities. Although peer pressure toward misconduct peaked in early adolescence, it was relatively low compared with other areas (Brown, Lohr, & McClenahan, 1986). ...read more.


The characteristics of adolescents can create major implications and limitations on the counselling process, due to the extremity of the changes that are occurring in the individual. The adolescent is feeling vulnerable, insecure, unsure of who he is, feeling the need to revolt, prejudiced, uncompromising, and extremely influenced by his peers. Therefore, the normal processes that may occur during therapy have to be altered to better suit the needs of the adolescent. It has been found that in counselling, young women seem better able to articulate, capture and describe the depth and intensity of their problems and associated feelings they experience, while young men seem to have less ability to describe their feelings and less comfort in talking about what bothers them. Young men are more difficult to engage in discussions about problems that affect them, and less likely to respond on a feeling level than young women. Being the mother of two children, aged twenty-one and nineteen years of age, I am aware of how a youth's characteristics would impact on our session. I have never had a problem dealing with adolescents, as I am consistently interacting with teenagers on a regular basis. Therefore, I am familiar with the problems that might be addressed during therapy; such as the fear of disclosure, inability to see problem behaviours, and their view that counselling is punitive. As a result, I would use various micro skills that I have acquired over numerous years to make sure the counselling environment was as comfortable for the adolescent as possible, therefore allowing them to discuss their problems. Word Count: 2544 ...read more.

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