Helping Your Teenager Beat Depression: A Problem-Solving Approach for Families (Special Needs Collection)

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9781890627492: Helping Your Teenager Beat Depression: A Problem-Solving Approach for Families (Special Needs Collection)
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Offers parents a strategy that enables them to become active partners in the treatment of their child's depression. The approach used can help parents address minor mood problems and reduce the risk of relapse and with professional help, stop more serious depressive disorders.

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About the Author:

Katharina Manassis has graduate degrees in medicine and psychiatry. She works at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, where she founded and continues to lead the Anxiety Disorders Program. In addition, she is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, a researcher of childhood anxiety disorders, and author of professional papers, plus a book, KEYS TO PARENTING YOUR ANXIOUS CHILD (Barrons Educational Series, 1996). Dr. Manassis lives with her family in Pickering, Ontario.

Anne Marie Levac is an Advanced Practice Nurse in the Child, Youth and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario. She holds a Masters in Nursing from the University of Calgary where she specialized in family systems nursing. She is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Nursing and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She specializes in child, marriage, and family therapy for children and families experiencing psychosocial problems.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

From Chapter 9, Depressive Thinking...

How Can Parents Encourage More Realistic Thinking?

Imagine that you were Janice’s mother. What would you do? Here is a L.E.A.P. plan Janice’s mother used to deal with her depressive thinking:

--Label feelings/thoughts: I feel frustrated that Janice keeps complaining and doesn’t act on any of my suggestions. I also feel responsible when she says, "I’m a loser," because I don’t like to see myself as a parent who has raised "a loser." This feeling makes me want to convince her that she’s not a loser, and then we end up arguing.

--Empathize with your teen: I haven’t really raised a loser. That’s just Janice’s depression talking. The lack of action in response to my suggestions may also relate to depression. After all, when she was not depressed and had more energy, Janice usually followed through on her commitments.

--Explore ways to respond: Maybe, instead of arguing, I could say, "It sounds like you’re getting discouraged, but you’ve handled situations like this before," or, "You only feel like a loser because of the depression. Even though you’re depressed, there might still be something you could do." Then, I could put the ball back in her court and ask, "What’s worked for you before in this situation?" or, "How can I help?" If she can’t come up with an idea, maybe I could offer several and ask her to choose one that sounds OK to her. In her present state of mind, I’m not expecting enthusiasm, just a grunt of acknowledgment. Even if Janice only says a word or two, I can congratulate her taking part in finding a solution.

--Apply alternative idea/plan: I’ll combine a couple of these ideas. "It sounds like you’re getting discouraged, but you’ve handled situations like this before" avoids the word "depression" (which she hates) and gives her a nice vote of confidence. "What’s worked for you before in this situation?" followed by some choices may help too. I can certainly be positive about any step she’s willing to take. Talking this way should also interrupt her depressive thinking for a while.

--Pick a follow up time and plan ahead: I’ll try doing this consistently when Janice calls this week, and review on Saturday how it’s going. If the calls are even a little bit shorter or less frustrating, I’ll consider that progress. Here are several other things Janice’s mother could do:

Modeling how to deal with setbacks can certainly help. Teens may not acknowledge listening to their parents, but they do. Talk out loud about your own perspective-taking on negative events. For example, "Oh well, I didn’t get that promotion, but I did get a good performance review. There will be other opportunities."

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