The Tick-Box Generation
Updated: Jan 9
My clients come from a diverse range of demographics. I hear many different stories and help clients with many different issues. That said, being a therapist in central London, most of my clients either live or work in London and many are under the age of 40 - so I have the privilege of calling them ‘young’. A lot of my clients are also foreign nationals, who have come to the UK for work opportunities, travel and to experience life in London. I obviously cannot talk about individual cases, but I have noticed some sweeping themes that come up frequently in sessions. Despite the obvious pressures many of my clients face, I often feel a sense of hope as the younger generations have a lot to offer the world - many are environmentally conscious, most are accepting of others gender, race and sexuality, and many want to experience life to the full. That said, it appears that modern life is failing our younger generations; despite the seemingly endless opportunities to engage with the world on whatever level, young people seem to be stuck in an anxious tick box society that actually limits their unique expressive nature.
Think back to the youth of the last century, the swinging 60’s changed the face of Britain, the Punk movement of the late 70’s with its anti-establishment views and freedom of expression through to British rave culture in the late 80’s, which allowed for a hedonistic period of peace and unity. The youth generation has given society a shake, challenged prejudice and injustice and rigid mindsets. Where would society be without this? Could you imagine what the Arts would look like without the likes of Tracey Emin, Oasis, The Beatles, Damien Hurst, Banksy, The Sex Pistols? London became arguably the arts capital of the world because it allowed people to express themselves and celebrated it. Walking down Carnaby Street in the 60’s and 70’s was pure theatre.
And now? What I see is a worrying trend. High incidence of mental health issues especially anxiety and low mood. A long list of ‘must-haves’ - career path, right job, formal education, property, relationships, physical looks - where did that rebellious spirit go? A lack of confidence and esteem issues that they are not achieving x,y or z. An inability to form relationships - most people use dating apps and there is nothing wrong with this, but what happened to going to a bar and chatting to someone - a lot of young people have become socially awkward, they go to a bar so they can post it on social media, they don’t talk to someone new. This is a fact often pointed out by my foreign clients who say that Londoners are rude and unfriendly - they often feel lonely here and long for a more inclusive society. I often coach my clients in how to talk to strangers - at the checkout, in a queue, on the tube - mainly because it’s a good confidence skill and secondly because I worry that humanity is going down the pan. One foreign client told me that he talked to a girl on the train from Heathrow after his arrival in London, only to be laughed at by his new flatmates that talking to a stranger here is a social no-no. I felt sad and embarrassed to be a Londoner.
Most clients feel a sense of dissatisfaction with their life and who they are, they are on a treadmill to middle-age and death and they have lost the ability to have a deeper connection with themselves, others and the world in general. They have a whole inner world of emotions, feelings and ideas that are being suppressed by conforming to what they think the world expects of them. Life is not a tick box exercise, life is for exploration, nurturing and expression of ourselves. If we concentrate on that and give the world who we are, the world would be all the better for it and so would we. Long live our freedom to be just us - because that is good enough!
At Blackwood, we are specialists in transformation, we work with your inner world, your locked away emotions about life, we look at inconsistencies in your belief systems, we want you to have a better relationship with yourself and in doing so you will have a better relationship with the world around you, we want to celebrate your unique human qualities. Whoever you are, whatever you want to achieve, we will work with you and support you in finding a more suitable path in life and give you the tools to carry on long after you have left our sessions.
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