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Teen Depression

counseling for teens


What's going on with your teen?


Have you noticed that your teenaged son or daughter has become moody, sad, withdrawn or avoidant?  Does the change in mood seem to be more extreme than typical teenage growing pains?  Maybe, your teen is having difficulty with academics or socializing with their peers.  Are they losing interest in school altogether?   


Have you noticed any of these problems with your teen?

  • Difficulties with falling asleep or staying asleep

  • Loss of interest in most activities

  • Problems concentrating at school

  • Problems with school attendance

  • Loss of energy

  • Change in appetite

Maybe you are recognizing some of these problems?

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Avoidance of social activities 

  • Complaints of stomach aches or nausea

  • Episodes of feeling increased heart rate and breathing 

  • Feeling fearful or overwhelmed by situations that seem relatively benign

If you notice some of these problems in your teen, he/she might have an issue with depression or anxiety.  These mental health problems are a response to a chemical imbalance in the brain that is sometimes inherited genetically.  It can also be triggered when a major stressor is experienced like loss or trauma.  Symptoms can also develop slowly over time. Depression or anxiety in teens  is often a condition that produces negative, sometimes irrational, thoughts and feelings that can result isn emotional and physical discomfort.  In the most severe cases, it can be debilitating.  For others, the behaviors are very subtle, not so obvious, and difficult to recognize.  

How can counseling help my teen?

Talk therapy, or counseling, is an important part of treatment for mental health problems regardless of how severe the symptoms your teen might be expressing.  At the first session, we will sit together as a family to identify the problems.  Once we figure out what issues need to be addressed, we can develop a game plan to tackle them. 


Teens who suffer from mental health disorders will often benefit from treatment using the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) model.  CBT is an evidenced based model that operates on the idea that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all connected.  Imagine that each of these occupies a point on a triangle.  When one point on the triangle shifts, it has an affect on the other two points.  For example, if you think that it will be very cold outside and you don’t like feeling cold, you might choose to wear warm clothes or avoid going out for long periods of time.  In this example, your thought has a direct effect on your behavior.  I thought I would feel cold, so I behave by putting on a sweater.  Let's say you woke up thinking it was going to be warm outside, you might behave differently by choosing lighter clothes or  choosing to participate in outdoor activities.   If you can change how you think about something, it will ultimately change how you feel and behave. Counseling is the first step in teaching your teen how to develop awareness and and build skills to help them feel better.

Thoughts Feelings Behaviors Transparent.
Teen Anxiety

Our therapists  will teach your teen how to become more aware of their thoughts and behaviors and how it affects their feelings using CBT techniques. Our treatment will help your teen recognize distortions in their thinking or problem behavior.  Once these skills are introduced and practiced consistently, you will start to see improvement in your teen’s mood and energy level and reduced incidence of negative behavior. 

How will I know if my son or daughter is feeling better? 


When a teen struggles with a mental health issue, he/she will usually experience negative thoughts that are connected with their feelings.  However, parents are most likely to notice their behavior first.  As a parent, you might observe your teen choosing to avoid situations or events that they perceive as worrisome or fearful.  Sometimes, you might notice increased irritability, or other very obvious negative behaviors.

Our therapists believe it is important to keep parents involved throughout treatment. However, it is crucial that your teen feels that he/she has a safe and confidential setting to discuss their issues.  In order to create that sense of safety, weekly progress is not necessarily shared with parents, except in cases of emergency or if there is an immediate concern for your child’s physical safety.  This might feel like you are being shut out, yet we value  your involvement in your teen's treatment and we encourage, sometimes require, regular family sessions to discuss and develop solutions to your teen’s problems.


Just snap out of it...


Sometimes parents say, “My teen needs to just to snap out of it.”  How can we tell if your teen isn’t just feeling the blues that they will eventually outgrow?  Sometimes knowing the difference can be difficult to decipher.  If you find that your teen’s mood or behavior does not improve over a period of months, that may be a sign that there is something more complicated going on. 


You don’t have to wait until your teen’s problems become overwhelming and unmanageable to get help.  Right now, you might feel that your teen is barely functioning, or just getting through the day.  Wouldn’t it be great to see enjoyment and pleasure return to your child’s life?  Counseling is the first step toward achieving that goal

But my family’s schedule is too busy to commit to therapy

Most families lead very busy lives.  Many parents are often juggling numerous schedules and responsibilities. Sometimes it feels like a constant game of "beat the clock".  Unfortunately, counseling will add to that busy schedule.   Talk therapy is a treatment that works best when meetings are consistently scheduled weekly.  We know this is  a big time commitment.  Think of therapy as the tool that strengthens your teen’s emotional foundation. Your teen’s time in treatment is the investment that will help them feeling stronger mentally and physically.  Your child will be able to channel their energies into positive activities that allow growth and to move forward in life.

Are you concerned?

Are you concerned that your teen is feeling worried, fearful or irritable?  Have you noticed a  change in your teen’s overall mood, school performance or social activities?   It’s time to seek out treatment.   Triangle Cognitive Therapy will work with you and your teen to develop a plan that will address your teen’s emotional and physical needs.  If that plan includes referrals to outside resources, we will refer you to a local providers that can offer service that would be beyond the scope offer practice.   There is help for the issues that your teen is experiencing at Triangle Cognitive Therapy.

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