Teen Depression Therapy in Saratoga/San Jose
At the Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley, we specialize in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for teenagers with depression. Our approach with depressed teenagers is practical, goal-oriented, compassionate, and scientifically-based while focusing on your teen’s individual needs.
What is Teen Depression?
Depression in teenagers results in a sad or irritable mood, often accompanied by a lack of interest in activities, as well as changes in sleep patterns, appetite and energy level. Depression in teens is relatively common with about 1 in 5 teenagers experiencing a major depressive episode at one point during their adolescence. While mood changes can be a normal part of adolescence, frequent periods of sadness, irritability and crying spells, along with withdrawal from friends and family, and, in some cases, hopelessness and thoughts of suicide, are indicators of a more serious problem.
Signs and symptoms of depression in teenagers include:
- Depressed or irritable mood for most of the day, almost everyday
- Less interest and participation in activities than the teen previously found rewarding and pleasurable, such as hobbies and social activities
- Withdrawal from family and friends and other social interactions
- Decline in academic performance
- Noticeable changes in sleep patterns (sleeping more or less than usual)
- Low energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt and low self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Thoughts about death and suicide
Cognitive Behavioral Model of Depression in Teens
Some teens have a biological predisposition to depression, while others experience depression in response to stressful life events. For most, depression develops due to a combination of these factors. In the cognitive behavioral model, depression is thought to be maintained by the teen’s negative and often unrealistic beliefs about themselves, others, and the world as a whole. A teen with depression may believe that he/she is worthless, that nobody cares about him/her and that his/her life will never improve. This type of negative thinking may then lead your teen to refrain from healthy and rewarding activities (e.g. spending time with friends, exercise) which then further increases feelings of depression and negative thinking.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Teens with Depression
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps teens struggling with depression to increase positive and fulfilling experiences, while also modifying negative and unrealistic thoughts and interpretations about themselves, others, and the world. Teens are guided in monitoring their mood and the accompanying thoughts and behaviors while developing a sense of how negative thinking exacerbates depressed feelings and can lead to unhealthy coping. The therapist then works with the teen to evaluate negative thoughts and develop more realistic and helpful ways to interpret the world. Many teens notice positive shifts in their mood after learning to change overly negative and unrealistic ways of thinking.
The therapist will also collaborate with the teen to identify and schedule fun and rewarding activities, such as playing sports, drawing, cooking, or time with friends. Family members are often included in this process to encourage and motivate the teen to increase their participation in fun, rewarding activities.
CBT also works to enhance teens’ skills for dealing with stressful social and family situations and negative emotional states. Coping skills are personalized to the individual teen based on their interests and preferences and can include physical activities (exercise, yoga), mindfulness and mediation practices, artistic pursuits and social activities. Some teens find skills dealing with emotional regulation and interpersonal effectiveness to be particularly helpful.
Common Goals of Cognitive Behavior Therapy with Teenagers
- Improve mood and positive emotions.
- Restore interest and participation in academics, social activities and other interests.
- Develop healthy beliefs about self, others and the world.
- Develop coping skills for managing stressful life events and negative emotions.
Getting Help for Your Teen’s Depression
The Cognitive Behavior Therapy Center of Silicon Valley specializes in therapy and counseling for teenagers with depression. With our central location in Saratoga just a 1/2 mile (2 minute drive) from Hwy 85, we serve the Silicon Valley communities of San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Campbell, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Los Altos. Contact us at (408) 384-8404 for more information on how we can help your teen manage their depression.