Childhood depression is a growing issue in today's society. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by the age of 18 and this is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44. With children, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint if a behavior or behaviors being exhibited are related to a temporary phase he or she might be going through or because of true depression.
Issues with childhood depression, that go untreated, can turn into bigger issues as children grow into their adolescence and adulthood.
- TTHI Counseling Center has found that expressive or creative arts therapy as a form of counseling for children is very effective. With this form of therapy, the focus is on the arts as a treatment for the illness, such as art, music, dance, writing, etc. Therapy using the arts may sometimes come across as a form of play, but it encourages the child to express themselves through their art and allows the therapist to understand the feelings of the patient beyond the scope of "play".
- Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on examining the relationships between thoughts, feelings and behaviors of a patient. Patterns of thinking that lead to self-destructive behaviors and beliefs are explored and a therapist actively works with the patient to modify his or her patterns of thinking to improve coping behaviors. It can also be a very goal-directed form of therapy with homework assignments or practice "problems" outside of a therapy session.
- Another common treatment when it comes to depression counseling for children is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, also known as "talk therapy", is a way to help children understand their illness by providing them with tools to deal with stress, unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.
- Family focused therapy is almost a requirement for successful progress and treatment. The idea is that a patient's relationship with his or her family is critical in the success of overcoming or managing the illness. This type of therapy also focuses not only on the patient suffering from the illness but the effects the behaviors have on the family.
Therapy is important when it comes to depression counseling for children for many reasons:
- Effective intervention early in life may help reduce future burden and disability related to depression.
- Understanding the family dynamics or family system and providing coping skills for all involved is important for the success of the patient.
- As a last resort, a combination of therapy and medication may be considered if truly needed.
To find out more information on childhood depression, download our free eBook.