Identity Crisis

The central task of adolescence is to achieve a sense of self-sameness and continuity in time. The transition between childhood identity and the process of accepting a more mature sense of self is the resolution of the crisis. An identity problem refers to uncertainty about issues such as goals, career choice, friendships, sexual behaviour, moral values and group loyalties. This problem can cause severe distress for a young person and can at times manifest in context of some mental disorders, borderline personality disorders.

Today, children and adolescents often experience great instability in family life, problems with identity formation, conflicts between peer values and values of parents and society, and exposure through the media and education to various moral, behavioural and lifestyle possibilities. Children who have had difficulty mastering expected developmental task all along are; likely to have difficulty with the pressure to establish a well-defined identity during adolescence.
Identity problem in youth manifests severe doubting and an inability to make decisions, a sense of isolation, inner emptiness, a growing inability to relate to others, a distorted time perspective, a sense of urgency and the assumption of negative identity. The associated features frequently include marked discrepancy between the adolescent’s self-perception and the views that others have about the adolescent; moderate anxiety and depression that are usually related to inner pre-occupation rather than external realities and self-doubt and uncertainties about the future, with either difficulty in making choices or impulsive experiments in an attempt to establish an independent identity.
Adolescents facing this problem may respond to brie3f psychosocial intervention. Individual psychotherapy directed toward encouraging growth and development is usually considered the choice of therapy. Treatment is aimed at helping them to develop a sense of competence and mastery about necessary social and vocational choices. A therapist’s empathic acknowledgement of an adolescent’s struggle can be very helpful in the process.

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