Millennials on the Couch


What are Milllennials saying to their therapists?

Brittany Wong of The Huffington Post surveyed several therapists who have worked with those in their 20s and 30s and reported what they’ve heard and how they’ve offered help.

The findings are limited to Milllennials who have sought therapy and thus do not represent the concerns of all Milllennials. But the results do align with what I have heard and observed among Milllennials and could be insightful for church leaders who are seeking to connect with and serve emerging generations.

What are the primary worries these therapists are hearing from Milllennials?

Here is the list:

  1. “I can’t make a decision. What if I make the wrong decision?”

  2. “I have difficulty saying ‘no,’ especially to my parents.”

  3. “Will I ever make enough money to start a life with my partner?”

  4. “I feel hopeless about all that’s going on in the world.”

  5. “I feel like a fraud.”

  6. “My anxiety is interfering with my life.”

The fear of making mistakes. Setting boundaries. Financial security. Overwhelming despair. Identity, integrity, and authenticity. And struggles with worry and overall mental health. These concerns are not new.

The Milllennials described in this report are having difficulty adjusting to adulthood because the narratives they received as they were growing up assured them of success, assumed they would have it all together after college, and neglected to adequately warn them of the challenges that come with transitioning from the college years to independent young adulthood. Each of the concerns voiced by Milllennials are challenging. But they can rise to each one, with a little help.

How does your congregation help Milllennials learn to make decisions with wisdom and boldness, assisting them in seeing that mistakes and failure occur in life but that God helps us recover and move forward?

Do you encourage all congregants, including Milllennials, to set healthy boundaries that enable them to thrive and flourish as they steward their lives? If not, start with teaching the principle of sabbath, which involves numerous “nos” so you can say yes to being fully present before God.

How does your congregation speak about money? Do you set an example for the people of God in giving, generosity, and simplicity? Do you help Milllennials see they do not need to be rich prior to marriage while also equipping them with financial wisdom and skill so couples manage their money well together?

If the Milllennials in your community are in despair over the state of the world, how are you inviting them into the hope that prevails in God’s kingdom? How do you show them ways they can make a difference as part of God’s people?

Lastly, how do you assist Milllennials in discovering who they are in Christ? How do you help them to set aside worry and stress and to live by faith?

Working with a wise counselor, able psychologist, or effective therapist can help Milllennials to navigate these challenges, but so can Christian commitments and the support of a nurturing congregation. The Milllennials you know may be asking the same questions as those above. Help them to discover the resources readily at hand as disciples of Jesus Christ.