The Most Common Problems Gen Z Patients Raise During Therapy

Generation Z will undergo therapy far more than any other age group, according to a November 2023 survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute.

Although seeking help may look different for each individual, members of this group have similar experiences that they commonly share in a therapist’s office. Understand that you are not alone. It’s normal to grapple with society’s expectations (such as finding a job after graduation or balancing work with a personal life).

Therapy can be helpful in learning techniques to better deal with these situations. Here, therapists share common issues Gen Z raise during their sessions, in addition to how to deal with these feelings:

Worry

With countless phone notifications, looming deadlines, and family responsibilities – all while changing their own identities – it’s common for Gen Z to grapple with anxiety and stress. Data published by Deloitte in March 2023 found that nearly half — 46% — of Gen Z surveyed said they almost always feel anxious and stressed at work.

Anxiety is often maintained by avoidance and self-doubt. For example, if you feel anxious about taking an exam, this may result in you avoiding the exam altogether or believing that you cannot pass the exam. Or if you’re stressed about balancing work and personal life, you may end up avoiding personal goals and hobbies.

Erica Basso, a psychotherapist and group practice owner in California, helps Gen Z clients overcome their anxiety.

“I encourage my clients to take a step back in caution – which usually involves stepping away from inputting information on their devices. Ultimately, we want to feel present and in control of what we can to actively engage in their lives in a meaningful and values-oriented way,” he said.

Job Search Pressure

According to Alyssa Mancao, therapist and founder of Alyssa Marie Wellness, many Gen Zers experience stress and uncertainty about the careers they want to pursue.

“Even though job wages are the same as last year, the cost of living has risen, so Gen Z is experiencing increasing pressure to not only find work that is economically rewarding but also mentally and emotionally satisfying,” Mancao said.

Mancao says she helps Gen Z clients find balance and give themselves grace as they navigate this transition in their lives. He also recommends interviewing people who have jobs they’re interested in, and exploring hobbies that excite them to help them learn what makes them tick in terms of work.

The pressure to find work amid market volatility is weighing heavily on many Gen Z patients, therapists say.

SrdjanPav via Getty Images

The pressure to find work amid market volatility is weighing heavily on many Gen Z patients, therapists say.

Hesitation When Faced with Multiple Choices

Many Gen Zers struggle with decision paralysis, a state of indecision compounded by the fear of making the wrong choice, said Israa Nasir, a psychotherapist and founder of Well.Guide.

With more and more options presented before them, it can become difficult to narrow them all down and choose one. This can feel overwhelming, especially when thinking about big life transitions like moving cities or changing careers, adds Nasir.

To overcome decision paralysis, Nasir asks his clients to reflect on their goals and identify their ideal version of themselves.

“I recommend exploring your true priorities, envisioning the life you want, and then making the decisions you need to make now to make that happen. People often start to question why they do what they do – so connecting with your values ​​and vision for life really helps,” she explains.

Body image

“There is a consistent theme of Gen Z clients bringing up issues regarding body image and feelings of inadequacy,” Mancao said.

Given the rise of social media, many Generation Z are exposed to the “ideal” body type perpetuated by society. Often, seeing standards of beauty that you consider socially acceptable can make you question your self-worth.

To help people in this situation, Mancao encourages steps toward body positivity and self-love.

“My recommendation to my clients is to help them zoom out on other aspects of themselves that they value, I also teach them how to search with awareness and wisdom, and help them understand the falsity of the images portrayed online,” Mancao said.

Stress About Relationship Compatibility

Whether it’s nervousness about asking someone out, moving in with your significant other, or simply deciphering your partner’s attachment style, it’s natural to worry about compatibility. Gen Z often raise many romantic relationship issues in the therapy room.

“Clients often come in and say they want to improve their attachment style, or are too focused on their partner’s attachment style, or want to know how it impacts their relationship,” Nasir says.

He added that the key to building healthy relationships is not to focus on labels, but on each other. “Your attachment style is how you receive, give, and understand connections. “Make it a starting point to understand yourself and your partner better,” he said.

Get Support From the Community

“One of the most common problems that arises when I conduct psychological evaluations of Gen Z individuals is the problem of feeling “different” due to mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD for example,” said Nekeshia Hammond. , a psychologist, speaker and author.

Experiencing mental health struggles can feel isolating. However, understand that you are not alone in what you are facing and you do not have to face it alone. Hammond encourages Gen Z to reach out to friends or family and build a support system to rely on when you need help.

“Recognizing that many individuals experience similar difficulties fosters a sense of connectedness, reducing the isolation that often accompanies mental health disorders,” says Hammond. “Seeking support from a mental health professional, friends, or support group provides a safe space to share experiences and gain perspective.”

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