Listening as a way of supporting young people
Very often, young people in early adolescence or a little older are left alone with their problems. The reasons for this may be various — for example, on the one hand perhaps a lack of understanding on the part of parents, peers, and teachers, and on the other hand, they are themselves very often unable to identify and express their problems or psychological state. This is especially true when a student’s condition is complicated by depression, self-doubt, low self-esteem, inner fears, unrequited love, and many other feelings and emotions that affect young people. At this point, they often do not even need a psychologist; what they really need is simply someone to listen to them in an atmosphere of absolute support and understanding. Quite often, after being encouraged or being listened to, young people and even adults are capable of finding within themselves the resources they need for healing.
After analysing feedback provided by school students on the results of our presentations to them, we came to the conclusion that it would be wonderful to be able to offer support to young people as part of the work of the Youth Project in our organization. To get ourselves ready for this, we invited Nicola Richardson, an expert on counselling (psychological listening) from the UK, who provided a training course for us in listening skills, and gave certificates to participants. Thus, in September 2012 our organization started to provide an additional free service called “Listening and psychological support for adolescents”. As specialists in listening, we do not exert any psychological or hypnotic pressure or influences on adolescents; and we do not provide advice. We assure a teenager that we are willing to listen, and to understand and support him or her, irrespective of our own attitudes or judgments about his/her problem or situation. The task of the expert in listening is to use the interaction with the client to help her to reach a more positive situation, or to arrive at a solution to her problems.
We believe that this work is especially relevant today, as the number of suicides among teenagers in the Issyk-Kul Province is unfortunately increasing, and our assistance may be just in time. Up to now, we have helped about 10 young people, and we believe that this is an excellent result already!