By the time a young person begins treatment, they are likely stuck on how they view everything, including family relationships, friendships, career goals, and future plans. A lack of experience in life understanding that reexamining currently held views can be advantageous and create forward movement hampers many individuals. Treatment professionals are tasked with teaching their adolescent and young adult clients that not everything they believed or lived before treatment has to remain set in stone. It’s essential to open a dialogue with these clients to reexamine their views and plans to see what may need changing.
Reexamining School and Career Choices
By the time a young client enters the care of a licensed counselor, they may have already decided on plans for college and a career. Encourage your client to talk about the passion behind their career choice and its origins. Are they following in familial footsteps and becoming another doctor in the family? If so, help them determine if this is their dream career or expected of them by their parents and older family members.
If the person isn’t sure what they want to do for a living, ask questions to get them thinking about what activities fascinate them. Ask them which of their interests might be successfully turned into a career. Remind them that changing careers multiple times is typical for many adults and that no one has to stay married to a job choice they made in their teenage years. Discovering and planning for a different line of work that is a better fit can get them excited about the new version of themselves they are becoming. Remaining flexible and adaptable is an essential part of growing into their chosen career field.
Is It Time to Explore New Hobbies?
By the time a person hits retirement age, they will have amassed many different hobbies and pastimes over their lives. Some were experimental and didn’t prove to be a good fit, while others became lifelong passions. Today, the younger generation often finds pleasure in electronic pastimes such as video games, streaming entertainment, and playing on their smartphones. They may have pre-determined that many activities are not for them without having given them a shot. Talk to your client about their favorite pastimes and encourage them to try new things. Brainstorm together about new things to see what else is out there and where it might lead.
You may receive pushback but see if you can get your client to agree to pick something and give it a fair shot. Maybe they are musically inclined but assumed they couldn’t fumble their way through guitar or piano lessons. Ask the person to commit to a definite amount of time with their choices, such as three musical instrument lessons or five hours spent watching Youtube videos about composing their own songs. The world is full of new activities to explore, and the first step is learning not to dismiss them all automatically. Remind them that the more activities they experiment with, the more well-rounded and healthy they will become.
Questioning How One Thinks
Sometimes a person is their own worst enemy because of their negative thinking patterns. Adolescents are often unaware of their knee-jerk emotional reactions to events happening in their lives. Start a conversation with your client about how they may get in their own way when they don’t take the time to understand how they think. Questions to ask include “Do I automatically assume the worst will happen in any given circumstance?” and “Am I open to the idea of doing things that may make me uncomfortable to reach a positive goal I have in mind?”
The Value of Getting Into the Habit of Questioning Yourself
The initial act of a client questioning what they know helps make sure they realize that everything they believed or lived before treatment doesn’t have to remain set in stone. Once a person has gained experience questioning their thought patterns, life goals, and trajectory, they are typically ready to sort through the answers and make changes. They can then revisit this new habit from time to time to look for any needed redirection in their schooling, job plans, hobbies, friendships, and attitudes about life. Once your client is familiar with doing this, they will see that they don’t need to wipe the slate clean every time. Help them understand that it is more of a mental spring cleaning to ensure they are still on the right path and allow for any changing emotions or goals.
Learning to challenge your thinking to rid yourself of negative habits and open yourself up to new challenges and life interests is beneficial for most people, particularly adolescents and young adults. They typically lack experience questioning the things they believe are set in stone already, such as what college classes and career fields they should invest in or what hobbies and talents they should develop. Sustain Recovery has a host of treatment modalities that teach young clients to question what they think they know and rise up to the challenge of building a healthier, genuine, and more positive self. Our long-term programs differ from most clients have previously tried because we know it takes time to learn how to truly change and return home healthier and feel more in control than before. Call us today and let us help you determine the right plan of action for your loved one! (949) 407-9052