Help! Your Teen has Anxiety or Depression

Written By: Shawna Hyde, MA, CCC, Psychotherapist with Capital Choice Counselling Group

Over the years, many parents have spoken to me about their confusion regarding their depressed or anxious teenager. “My teen is so smart, talented, and likeable but s/he just doesn’t see it!” “My daughter rebuffs compliments and totally fails to recognize her own strengths and abilities, when she’s not finding ways to dismiss her positive qualities completely.” “My son claims that he has no friends, yet he’s Captain of the Football Team, turned down 3 “prom-posals” last week, and is always too busy to talk to us because he’s constantly texting those friends he “doesn’t have”.

Depression Counselling Can Help

Parents report that sadness and anger seem to have taken up a permanent residence in their home. They ask me how they can help th3eir teen to see that they are loveable, and that life has more to offer them than stress, panic attacks, friend dramas, depression, and a pervasive terror that they will never get anywhere or amount to anything. The Internal Family Systems approach (IFS) to therapy is very teen-friendly, and helps adolescents and young adults to acknowledge what they have been sensing for perhaps a long time. That even though their feelings of sadness, anxiety, or depression can seem so overwhelming at times, still they can hear tiny, but strong voices of confidence, courage, and strength. These parts are longing to be heard and expressed.

Learn To Control Your Depression

Working with a counsellor familiar with IFS can give your anxious teenager an opportunity to see that even though they struggle with anxiety or shyness, there actually is a part of their “Self” who is courageous, or maybe even wildly creative. Through simple techniques, teens can be taught how to access these parts of them in order to bring much needed personal strengths, skills, and resources to the forefront. This process helps your anxious teenager begin to take back the control over their personal lives they thought they had lost or never had in the first place. Empowering teens to think and act in strengths-based, positive ways will allow them the opportunity to work through their stuck feelings and begin to make choices that are in keeping with the character and values of the young adults they are seeking to become.

IFS also helps teens recognize and identify their true self. In other words, once they are able to see that their actions do not need to be dictated by how they are feeling in the moment, they discover that they have the ability to take a step back, and decide to view themselves and the world through a much more compassionate, open, and curious perspective.

IFS even offers explanations, support, and strategies to help teens deal with sudden and/or extreme shifts in moods, which often result in behaviour that appears angry, hostile, and demanding, or, perhaps may be reminiscent of a small child, seemingly too terrified and emotionally dependent to think clearly or to remain rational.

For more information regarding teens who experience depression and anxiety, click here.

If you’re concerned about your teen’s current mental or emotional health, and feel that you’re at a loss as to help them get “unstuck” and move forward with their lives, we can help. Please contact Capital Choice Counselling Group for further information, and to book an initial appointment.