While Ascend places a focus on clinical therapy, we also believe in alternative solutions that may help us reach your teens. Creative therapy options, like experiential or recreational therapy, engage teens and empower them to rediscover interests, hobbies, and passions that can be vital tools for healing and growth. One experiential therapy we frequently encourage for clients is a passion project of their choice. Instead of pre-determined activities, like equine, hiking, or cooking, we allow the client to choose a project for therapy to work on while in residential treatment with us.
Learn more about the importance of passion projects for teens and how they can make a difference in their lives when you read here.
How Passion Projects Can Transform Teens
For teenagers, one of the main struggles they must overcome is “individuation.” This concern is the process of teens learning how to strike out on their own and become independent. Eventually, teens must be able to take care of themselves as they grow into adults.
This process can be challenging for teens who haven’t found anything they’re passionate about or are unsure of who they are or what they can offer the world. One of the most common issues we see at Ascend are teens who don’t feel they’re significant or important enough to make a difference.
Taking action and engaging in a passion project can help to change this narrative for teens. Along with CBT, community support, and unique projects in therapy, teens can discover that they care about something in the world. Many teens experience a complete transformation, in part due to the benefits of exploring their passion project.
1. Establishing Concrete & Action-Oriented Goals
Sometimes, teens become lost and unsure of themselves due to a lack of knowledge and a fear of an unfamiliar world. A passion project can give them a starting point and show them the value of goal-setting and taking action. In addition to encouraging personal responsibility, teaching them to set goals and complete their objective is one of the most important parts of a passion project for teens.
2. Encouraging a Sense of Meaning & Purpose
People of all ages struggle when they feel their lives lack personal meaning. Young people, in particular, experience these issues the most – especially if they feel forced to engage in activities that lack meaning specifically for them.
While a passion project doesn’t need to be the main thing they commit to for the rest of their lives, it can wake them up to the reality of genuinely caring about something. These activities can also help them realize how great it feels to care about something as well as create a sense of independence, meaning, and purpose in life.
3. Developing a Selfless Attitude
Engaging in passion projects in therapy can help teens get out of their own heads and learn the value of action. Studies have shown that teens are most motivated by meaningful activities that are relevant to their family, their faith, or even a hobby. We encourage teens to choose their own passion projects, setting realistic goals for completion while in treatment with us. We see our clients form new connections with their families and others in the community as their project inspires them to take a more active role in their life.
Helping to Cultivate Meaning & Empowerment Using Passion Projects
Uncertainty and listlessness are driving forces of depression, anxiety, and poor behavior in teenagers. Finding the importance of passion projects for teens is one way they can channel their energy, process emotions, and build ties to others.