The young adult walking in for or brought for therapy is not the easiest client to work with.
They have been given everything for nothing but without a balance. The lack of balance shows up as excesses, and in therapy balance is key. The client wants feel good moments without accepting the discomfort that is essential for growth and change.
They have never been allowed unstructured play and social interaction and therefore do not know how to deal with their own thoughts and emotions when alone.
They have played passive games on a screen where winning and outdoing someone were more important than acquiring skills and so when therapy demands a change by an elevation of skills (needed so often), they quit therapy claiming it never worked.
They have been used to getting medals and certificates for very little work and in small competitions frequently that it is difficult for them to patiently wait out something like therapy and self development.
They have never had to share anything with another person and therefore do not understand how to work with another person even when the task needs it. Therefore when therapy requires behavioural change involving other people, they refuse it and feel the whole world is a problem.
They have always been provided for even when parents had no resources and so do not value what they have and look for constant upgrades and updates. This ruins jobs and relationships. In therapy they expect quick results without working on the self.
Travel, mealtimes, friends, moments have been reduced to selfies and instagram, that the true joy of being that one connects with in therapy is almost non existent.
Views and opinions are shallow and easy to tamper with through indoctrination. But with poor emotional regulation and unstable relationships the young adult is the boon for every political thug wanting to incite divisiveness. The problem is that the young adult has never had to look for perspectives or empathize that changing their opinions becomes impossible as they feel there is only one way to do something.
Many come with the saviour complex wanting to volunteer or work with children and the underprivileged not knowing that it’s not pity but genuine work that makes a difference. They end up joining NGO’s backed by money but no vision and believe that they have made a difference. Very few make the difference while many carry certificates that make their onward academic journeys easier. Sadly they cannot for long live with these lies and refuse to help themselves in therapy.
Many dislike the education system they come from and find fault and blame everyone involved. Some with the right upbringing manage to make a difference for themselves and others. Many just skim on the surface and get addicted to series after series on Netflix and stay away from all social connections that remind them of the reality they need to face and the changes that maybe needed.
After therapy, some prefer to regress into a state of apathy because it’s easier to be there and thrive on pity and sympathy instead of challenging the uphill climb and making the difference. Many of these types even read up diagnostic criteria from flawed sites on adult dyslexia, ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder and claim that have these conditions and so cannot be helped.
What can we do as therapists, as teachers or as parents?
Reducing gadgets still is the most important step. The neurological impact on the brain can never be changed in any other way.
Joining them for exercise and leisure activities involving people helps. Our role and support is in the presence and in our actions. It takes time but helps greatly.
Helping them create an identity mindfully, becoming aware of their emotions and regulating them, and most importantly developing few meaningful relationships with balance will be the long term goal.