Child and Teen Depression
Occasionally feeling irritable or sad is a part of every child or teen’s life. However, some children or teens feel persistently sad or uninterested in things that they previously enjoyed, may feel hopeless, or irritable. This may be sign of childhood or teen depression. Some children or teens may engage in self-injurious or self-destructive behaviors, have negative self-esteem, experience academic difficulties, or have social challenges. Childhood or teen depression is likely different than depression in adults. With children most likely displaying irritable rather than low mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to help children and adolescents learn how to cope with thoughts and feelings that contribute to irritability or low mood. Dialectical Behavior Therapy may also be effective in helping children regulate their emotions and avoid extreme and lengthy outbursts.
Two common evidence-based (proven) psychotherapies for childhood or teen depression are:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy in which children and teens learn to identify and manage negative thought and behavior patterns that can contribute to symptoms. CBT helps children and teens identify negative ways thinking, change irrational beliefs, and modify behaviors that contribute to their symptoms. Children and teens learn how to cope with thoughts and feelings that contribute to irritability or low mood. Dialectical Behavior Therapy may also be effective in helping children regulate their emotions and avoid extreme and lengthy outbursts.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) is a form of therapy where the patient learns to improve their relationships by better emotional expression and effective and more adaptive, healthier problem solving. IPT helps patients adapt to stressful life events, build social skills to increase support for coping with depressive symptoms and life stressors.
Parent collaboration is a key factor in the treatment of children and teens. Collaboration between the psychologist and child/teen and family helps identify the most appropriate psychotherapeutic approach and treatment plan for an individual. An understanding of the individual’s cognitive, social, developmental, and emotional functioning helps identity the most optimal psychotherapetuic approach treatment approach for the child or teen.
SageForth Psychological Services is here to help. Contact us at 703-777-7755 for a consultation.