Blog 4: The World of Young Persons

Written by Jim Sheehy

Blog 4: The World of Young Persons

Hi.  My name is Jim Sheehy.  This is and this blog is about The World of Young Persons

I work a lot with young persons in schools, colleges and communities.  Even though I am a dinosaur at the age of 61, I find I can meet them at a level that engages us both.  Why is that? 

There are some things that cross the age barrier.  We both know that we are fragile and vulnerable.  Fair enough, we have the public face and role we all need to get us through our day.  We put on the uniform and make-up, gather together the tools and equipment and get stuck in to wherever we study or work at. 

At the same time, there is a whole world going on inside our heads and hearts – scanning to see if we feel safe and appreciated, listening to tones of voice that plant seeds and voices in our heads: ‘I am worth a lot’ -  or ‘worth nothing’,  ‘I can manage everything’ or ‘I am useless, a doormat that people use to walk on’. 

Yes, young or old, we are fragile and vulnerable.  

Young persons have oceans of potential; they see dreams of who they can be, where they can travel, what skills they can master.  Life can be kind or harsh in giving them the space and confidence to make those dreams a reality.  Like a river-current, they are able to rush around some boulders in their way.  But, other times, the current meets too many obstacles, the water stops flowing, becomes stagnant, even smells.

That is when a young person feels ‘I am ashamed, dirty, a nuisance, what’s the point’.  A real scary time.  Inside, our body feels tight, knotted up, heavy, empty, sick.  One 15-year-old boy said me: ‘there is a lightning storm happening in my head’, he felt rage towards the bullies who ridiculed and shamed him, he could only get relief from cutting himself and seeing the red blood, he was isolated and lonely.  And he was an only child!  And yet, he recovered and got the river-current flowing again.  Today, he walks with a purpose, his face shows feeling again where before it was stony and cold, he has friends who love his company, his humour and his moods – yes, all of them.  We all need an inner circle, two or three people, perhaps with a pet included, that ‘get me’ when they spend even a few minutes in my company, make me happy, want me to live.

Very often, before they find that inner circle of friends, they go deep into ‘the cave’, often their bedroom.  Their only company are the chatrooms and the online games and videos.  They often begin to draw, compose songs, write poems and stories that express their inside world of hurt, loss, need, desire. 

What about adults in their world.  Great if the adults at home are half-decent but, if not, they search for models and mentors outside.  These are teachers, coaches, relatives … whoever … men and women they are attracted to.  The chemistry is there – they like the way these women and men talk, walk, communicate, relate and work.  It’s usually a two-way-street.  These chosen adults like the young person and it’s easy to spend time with them, trust develops, the young person risks and experiments in fantastic ways because this adult is by their side whispering and encouraging: ‘You were born to fly, not crawl, sing and let the world be your audience’.  Why can these adults be models and mentors … because they once knew that place of ‘the crawling around in the cave’ … and they found a way to remove the boulder and allow the sunlight in. 



We all have parts inside of us.  Very often, these parts are at war with each other.  One part can dominate and dictate while another part cowers and runs for cover.  A teenage girl shared some of the parts she observed strutting around the corridors of her inner self: ‘the extremely shy and inhibited part’, ‘the grey, bland, sad, boring part’, ‘the ashamed, very angry, terrified part’, ‘the sensitive, caring part’, ‘the creative, unique expressive part’.  She even gave them names like ‘Ivan’ and ‘Jenny’.  She chose hand-puppets to represent them – Ivan the Enforcer was a lion and Jenny the Creator a puppy dog.  She played out where the puppets spoke to each other about how each wanted to be heard, maybe after a long time in hiding or neglected by the 17-year-old self.  Only when these inner parts of who we are sit around the same table, keep quiet and calm while listening respectfully to the role each other part plays in keeping us safe can the young person living at home, chatting to friends, studying and working begin to feel whole and fairly okay.  Lots there to think about!

I love the moment when young persons finish a part of their inner work.  Their skin-tone changes, the hair and clothes are colourful and unique, they sit and walk with a light touch … people they know remark: ‘there is something different about you’.

So, as you read or listen to this, be aware – notice and be curious- when a young person enters your orbit.  They are worth knowing.   Appreciate them and let them gift you in return.

Presentations on the 4 zones are also available on video and blog through the website – see

 If you enjoy the material, please get the word out there among those you care for.  You can contact me with comment or suggestion via Facebook at Jim Sheehy Therapy and on Twitter @jimsheehy2017

Take care,

©All material in Jim Sheehy Therapy as presented in video, blog and podcast form is copyright and may only be redistributed with permission of author.

Clarifying Disclaimer:  While the material I am presenting is well-researched and suitable for the general population, I believe each person’s issues and needs are unique.  I encourage you to seek medical and/or therapeutic support if you struggle with an issue or condition that negatively and seriously impacts your life.






Contact me:

Jim Sheehy M.Ed. MIACP
Co Donegal 
F94 WV99

087 2137922


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