Whitney M WhitmanWhitney M Whitman LPC LLC

Transitional Youth

The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a time of great emotional and behavioral challenges. Often, youth at this time in their lives are defining and redefining who they are, who they want to be, and even revisiting the meaning behind early childhood experiences. Youth with emotional disturbances and difficulties are particularly vulnerable during this transitional period. Especially if they lack family support and/or healthy relationships with adults who can offer guidance and understanding, youth may make poor decisions that can be taxing on their sense of self.

Transitional youth is being redefined in America. Many parents believe that, by age 18, their children should be fully equipped and prepared to be emotionally and financially independent. This is most often not the case. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that, for youth with a history of mental health issues.

"Adult milestones of completing school, obtaining a steady job that provides enough income to live on independently, and permanently moving out of the family home are typically not achieved until age 30 or later."
(NAMI Beginnings, Summer 2006, Issue 8.)


The average transitional youth age is now considered 17 to 26 years old, which corresponds with the age during which one’s brain development is completing.

If you are experiencing this transition yourself and find that the challenges you face are overwhelming, counseling can be a helpful and motivating experience for you. We will look at family of origin issues that may have attributed to emotional instability and/or a lack of coping and life skills. I will collaborate with you to developing coping skills for emotional stressors, identify life skills and goals you would like to achieve, and create processes for reaching those goals. I am familiar with community resources that can also assist you in a productive transition towards independence. Throughout this process, clients often develop a deeper understanding of self, improving their self-worth and understanding of true self-esteem.

We will also look at developing and maintaining healthy relationships, assertive communication skills and positive leisure skills that can last a lifetime.

Often, youth struggling at this time in their lives turn towards substance abuse and experimentation. Addressing substance abuse will certainly be a part of the work that we do if this is true for a client. However, if substance abuse and/or dependence is the primary issue that needs to be addressed, I recommend seeking a counselor that specializes in recovery from chemical dependency.