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Talking to a Professional

teen talking to a professionalDo you want to take the next step of talking to a professional about your concerns?

Talking things out can help you figure your next steps out. But how to start?

Prepare before you go to an Appointment

Be aware that talking to someone means you will be asked some questions. They might seem nosy or personal, but help usually starts by finding out what is the concern you need help with.

If you are concerned about the questions or about sharing your information, you can ask the professional about confidentiality. (Who will know your information? Will it be shared with anyone without you knowing about it?) In Manitoba there are laws covering confidentiality of health and personal information and you can ask questions about how this applies to the help you are getting.

Getting started usually means trying to name the concerns you are having. You could write them down and make a list, or just list them in your head.

Have you taken one of the self checks on this site, and do the results indicate you need to get some additional help? If so, tell the person you have chosen. Most offices have computers, and you can show them this site, and what you found out.

How often do these feelings or concerns bother you? You might get asked this question, so preparing for it ahead of time can help.

Who to talk to

Do you know who you want to speak to? Possible choices include a guidance teacher at your school, your doctor, a phone-line counsellor, nurse at a teen clinic or someone else you trust.

If you can’t think of a person, do you know any friends who have gotten help? Can you ask them how they went about it?

Can you ask a parent, family member, or trusted friend of the family for help in finding someone?

How to talk about your feelings

Sharing feelings helps you to not feel alone, and can help you find ways to solve the problems under the feelings. And if you need more help, often a helping person can make that happen too.

  • Try to make an appointment or find a private time to ask for help.
  • If you find it hard to get started write something down and give it to your support person.
  • Try to give examples of what’s bothering you so they really understand.
  • Try to be specific and tell a story. Phrases like “my life sucks” let’s a person know you are not feeling great, but don’t help in figuring out what the concern is.
  • Try to be honest and give as much detail as you can.

How Can Someone Else Help?

Teens are sometimes reluctant to get help because they can’t imagine how someone else can help their situation. It can seem hopeless to them. Sometimes previous attempts at getting help haven’t worked out.

Here are some ways that a helping professional might be able to help your situation.

  • Teaching coping skills
    Coping skills are skills that help you to deal with problems, and they do not always come naturally. There are programs and counselling methods to teach these skills if you want to learn more.
  • Providing support and understanding
    Even if a professional can’t change certain aspects of your life they can listen, provide support, understanding and offer some ideas for you to try on your own.
  • Providing information on other services or agencies that might provide concrete help such as financial assistance, food banks, how to get safe housing or other types of help.
  • Reflecting to you what they might think is an underlying issue. Sometimes you can’t really see your own issues, as there can be many factors causing confusion or difficulty. A professional can sometimes see issues more clearly, and help you figure out the root cause of some concerns.

And if your first attempt at getting help by talking to a professional and sharing your story doesn’t work out for you – try again.

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