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How To Find The Right Therapist
July 28th 2021
Written by, Cassie Cipolla – Synergy eTherapy Intern
I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020 with a Bachelor’s of General Studies in Psychology and a minor in Applied Behavioral Sciences. I plan to pursue a doctoral degree (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology and am specifically interested in a neuropsychology concentration. I have previously worked as a Permanency Family Support Worker for KVC Health Systems in Kansas where I worked alongside case managers, therapists, and other mental health professionals to provide direct services to children and families within the child welfare system.
As a teen, everything about you is still developing. Your personality, your perspectives, your opinions, and most notably, your brain.
You are still learning to identify and regulate your emotions and it’s hard. Really hard. Your brain quite literally has imbalances that cause emotional reactivity and risky behavior. This leaves teens struggling with things such as decision making, planning, impulse control, and predicting consequences. It’s no wonder teens “act out” from time to time!
These rapid physical, psychological, and emotional changes during adolescence also leave teens extra moody. You know, stomping up the stairs, slamming the door, and then coming out 10 minutes later as if nothing happened? Or when they get mad at you for simply.. I don’t know…existing????
Teenage years are just flat out hard.
As a teen, you feel like you are constantly being told who to be and what to do when you just want some independence and autonomy. As a parent, you feel like you’re walking on thin ice that could shatter with one wrong glance in your teens direction.
So how do you know when the typical teenage angst becomes more than just angst?
This is hard because the “typical teenage angst” provides a pretty great mask. Any “acting out” or moodiness is often written off and parents may be left unaware that there is something more going on.
But with teenage depression on the rise, and nearly 3.2 million adolescents in the U.S. struggling with depression, it’s important parents are aware of the signs and symptoms so that teens can get help when they need it!
What does teenage depression look like?
Depression is much more than moodiness or feeling down. It’s much more than door slamming, feet stomping, and sleeping till noon. Teenage angst becomes more than just angst when it affects how the child thinks, feels, and behaves on a day to day basis. It Some signs your child may be struggling with depression include:
- No longer finding pleasure in things they used to enjoy
- Social isolation or withdrawing from friends
- Increased agitation or irritability
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Decreased performance in school or sports
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Highetened sensitivity
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Self harm, or thoughts of death or suicide
It’s tricky because many teens will experience a majority of these symptoms at one point or another during their teenage years. That’s part of being a teen! The moodiness, the acting out, the “teenage rebellion”. But depression is much more than one symptom and can cause significant impairment in daily life.
Here’s there things to consider in regard to your child’s symptoms:
- How long their symptoms have been occuring
- How often their symptoms are occuring
- How much their symptoms are affecting their day to day functioning
If symptoms are persisting on a daily basis for more than two weeks, and affecting your child’s ability to function, they may be experiencing more than just angst.
But what if you aren’t fully aware of their symptoms or how severe they are?
The reality is that growing up in today’s world isn’t comparable to growing up in the past. Kids today are introduced to a completely different world, creating a huge disconnect between parents and teens where teens feel misunderstood and parents feel unable to understand.
So if you’re a parent wondering ““Is my child ok? How is my child feeling? Is my child depressed? Is something going on? Does my child need help?”,
The best thing you can do is talk to them.
I feel like parents are often quick to turn to other parents for advice and perspective on how their teen is feeling, but who could be better to ask than your teen themselves?
Start a conversation and listen to what they have to say about what they are feeling and experiencing. Really listen. Ask questions, with respect to your child, but also with the understanding that it may be difficult for your child to come to you on their own with their emotions. Don’t push, but rather open up a dialogue where they are comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.
This is really important because adolescents typically aren’t in the position to go get help on their own. They need your help to get help. Which means they need to be comfortable enough to come to you and talk to you. Teenagers have big emotions. And they’re allowed to! It’s part of their development. But in order for parents to know when these big emotions turn into something more than just emotions, they have to encourage open conversation.
It’s not your job to be able to diagnose them, but it is your job to get them help if they need it. And that’s a lot easier to do when you talk to them.
Synergy eTherapy can help. All of our therapists have years of clinical experience working with patients suffering from high and low levels of depression. For more information, or to set up a free CONSULTATION please feel free to choose your state, choose a therapist, and fill out a consultation form!
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