6 Therapy Questions for Teens and Their Parents to Ask

Talk therapy can be a tremendously powerful tool. But it can also be tantamount to trying to lead a conversation with a brick wall. It’s not just about the therapist and their skills. Therapy must be consensual and requires effort on every participant’s behalf. Therapy is often likened to a two-way street. Still, in many cases, it’s more like an intersection between multiple different parties, each taking an interest in self-improvement and mental health. 

Teens seeking treatment – whether through their family or on their own – will always continue to receive the most influence from their parents and the rest of their community, whether it’s their friends and peers or those they admire from afar. Parents are encouraged to be involved in their teen’s treatment, even if that means trying out family therapy together. 

If you’re unsure about seeking treatment alongside your child, it might help to clarify your concerns with your teen’s therapist and learn more about how their techniques might help you as well. Understanding how family therapy and other forms of group therapy can play a large role in treating your teen and improving their symptoms can also help. 

Here are six therapy questions for teens and their parents to ask.

1. Is Therapy Effective for Teens?

Talk therapy is an evidence-based and proven treatment for many mental health issues among children, teenagers, and adults alike. It is often a first-line treatment for cases of depression and anxiety disorders, as well as conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated grief, and obsessive-compulsive disorder

But that is not to say that therapy is a panacea for mental health issues, that it always works, that it works the same for everyone, or that it is even the best option in every case. Like any other form of prescribed treatment, talk therapy has its risks, its issues, and its shortcomings – some of which are impossible to foresee. 

Some teens might not respond well to therapy and are less inclined to work with a therapist. Some conditions are especially difficult to treat with therapy alone, such as conditions with symptoms of psychosis or certain personality disorders. 

If you or your teen are considering therapy, or if a professional has recommended therapy to you, it might be a good idea to ask them more specifically: what can therapy do for me and my child? How can talk therapy or any other form of psychotherapy address the issues my teen has been experiencing? 

2. How Long Will Therapy Last?

If you have never been to therapy before, you may want to find out what it means to be in treatment. How long do sessions typically last? How long does a therapist treat a single patient? Are there specific signs of remission for certain mental health issues, such as those your teen is diagnosed with? How do insurance companies handle treatments like therapy if they go on for longer than a few weeks? How are payments and compensation handled? 

Practical questions regarding the length and extent of your teen’s treatment – with or without your involvement – are important. 

But so is an understanding of what your teen’s prognosis might be. Certain mental health conditions are chronic or can develop into a lifelong conditions. 

For example, a teen diagnosed with PMDD may be able to manage their symptoms through medication and therapy but may need to keep at it – both through medication and through behavioral modification, lifestyle changes, and so on – until menopause. Teens with ADHD may grow out of it, but not all do. Many adults continue to require medication such as Ritalin to focus on work and perform basic duties at home. 

Your therapist may not be able to give you a concrete idea of how long your teen might be in treatment, especially if they have just gotten started. But in some cases, they can give you an idea of how long it took patients with similar cases to start feeling better or see an improvement in their symptoms. 

3. What Kind of Therapy Will My Teen Be Treated With?

We’ve pointed it out earlier – talk therapy comes in different shapes and forms. While a lot of it is about conversation, there are different forms of therapy that may be more successful for some patients than others. Some therapists specialize in hypnosis. 

Others utilize techniques such as EMDR or trainspotting to improve a patient’s symptoms. Some conditions respond better to exposure therapy than cognitive-behavioral therapy. Some personality disorders respond best to dialectical behavior therapy

In some cases, animal-assisted therapy can help teens who struggle with anxiety begin to make headway in their treatment with the calming effect of an animal companion present or during the care of an animal such as a horse. 

4. Do You Do Teletherapy?

There may be days when making treatment is not feasible. Or circumstances prevent you and your teen from regularly attending treatment at a pace that would be practical. In these cases, a therapist might recommend teletherapy.

Teletherapy has been shown to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy, with the added benefit of giving patients who might not feel comfortable talking in person or do not have the means to visit a therapist regularly to seek therapy, nonetheless. 

5. What Can I Do to Help?

Therapists often encourage parents to be involved in their teen’s treatment. If you aren’t sure how to do so, a therapist is a perfect person to ask. 

They may ask you to attend one of your teen’s sessions, schedule a family therapy session to delve deeper into your teen’s relationship with you or provide tips on how you can positively contribute to your teen’s mental health and help manage your own stressors in the meantime. 

6. What Will Happen After Therapy?

A person may be in therapy consistently for weeks, months, or years at a time. They may be in therapy for a few months, then return years later when issues arise. Most mental health professionals do not see therapy as a cure but as a management tool – a training system to help patients better understand and contend with their mental health issues and affect their mood and behavior through conscious effort and the support of their loved ones. 

It takes time for therapy to work, like any other treatment. Be patient, and find a therapist you enjoy working with – one that you and your teen trust and like. 

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Therapy for Teens: What Parents Should Know

Are you curious about mental health therapy for teens but scared of the stigma?

Well, here’s a damning fact: we are well into the 21st century, with decades of progress in psychiatric medicine, and nearly half of the American workforce still believes that seeking therapy is a sign of weakness.

Research tells us that psychotherapy – a set of guided conversations and exercises between a trained professional and a client/patient – is one of the most effective forms of treatment for the majority of mental health issues that we face. Yet despite growing rates of depression, anxiety, and psychosis, most people either do not get the help they need or do not seek it out, to begin with.

We must do better, especially for our children. The attitudes we take on regarding health, both mental and physical, often reflect in our offspring. The fact is that despite the fear of peer pressure, teens are overwhelmingly influenced by their parents and rely on their parents to be positive role models. Furthermore, teens are struggling.

Rates for anxiety and depression are higher than ever as awareness around mental health issues continues to soar. Yet instead of seeking treatment, many teens with mental health issues become susceptible to other, more maladaptive forms of coping. They may develop self-esteem issues and eating disorders, struggle with substance use, or fall into an online rabbit hole of scams or even hate speech marketed as a form of “self-improvement.”

Many teenagers need help, and therapy for teens can be one of these forms of help. Here’s what parents should know.

Does Therapy for Teens Work?

Yes. There is ample research specifically on the topics of adolescent mental healthcare and the efficacy of talk therapy protocols as treatment modalities for teen patients. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy see as much success in teens as they do in adults, in addition to specialized forms of therapy applied to various diagnoses, such as EMDR, exposure therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

One particular type of therapy that may be more effective for adolescent patients is family therapy. There are different forms of family therapy, but each focuses on addressing issues within a family unit or even a small subsection of a community, rather than focusing solely on an individual.

Family therapy programs center around the idea that treating a patient’s symptoms in isolation is not enough when the root cause or major contributing factors to their condition are still present at home. Family therapy can help parents and other relatives better understand their loved one’s condition, discover interpersonal issues that may be contributing to their mental malady, and improve communication skills between teens and parents alike.

Therapists understand that parents play a vital role in a teen’s therapeutic process. Individual therapy sessions can help teens immensely, but it’s the parent who has the most influence and plays the greatest role in a teen’s behavioral and mental development. Family therapy helps explore this dynamic and utilize it in the best interests of the teen and parents alike.

Does Your Teen Need a Diagnosis to Go to Therapy?

One of the most common misconceptions about therapy is that it is only needed when prescribed by a professional. Although a formal psychological evaluation can help and therapeutic services are more likely to be covered by certain insurance policies if you receive a referral from a professional first, it’s also important to note that you don’t need to wait for a problem to be diagnosed before you can decide to seek someone to talk to, whether you’re an adult or a teen.

Everyone who thinks they might benefit from therapy should ultimately go to therapy. A therapist can help you improve your focus and productivity, address emotional problems at their root, figure out why you struggle with intimacy or have other common relationship issues, and can help you identify and replace maladaptive coping skills with healthier methods of coping regardless of your lack of a specific diagnosis or mental health issue.

Should you feel the need to visit a therapist every time you feel upset or anxious? If it helps you feel better, yes.

On the other hand, there are also circumstances under which a therapist’s help is more than just optional but a necessary part of a long-term recovery and treatment process.

When Should a Teen Go to Therapy?

Teens may get a referral from a mental health professional (a psychiatrist or psychologist) or their primary care physician if they struggle with the following:

Behavioral Problems

These include a wide range of behaviors that may involve acting out aggressively towards others, or showing signs of unprompted rage, extreme narcissism or disregard for others (seeming lack of empathy and compassion), recurring relationship problems, and even recurring legal issues (frequently vandalizing, getting caught stealing, drunk driving or speeding, exhibitionism, substance use, and so on).

Recurring Sadness

Sadness and depression are two very different things, and it’s important for parents to be able to tell the difference. Sadness comes and goes, but depression lingers for weeks at a time, seeping into everything a teen does to the point that they struggle with things they used to excel at or have an easy time with and no longer feel any interest in old hobbies or activities they used to enjoy.

Depression can be brought on by anything or by nothing at all. Some teens begin to struggle with symptoms of depression after a triggering event, such as a breakup or the loss of a loved one. Others may develop depression over time without a clear origin or cause. Not talking about it makes it worse.

Insurmountable Anxiety

Some teens are naturally more anxious than others. But an anxiety disorder can be debilitating, affecting a teen’s personal life, academic life, and future career.

Anxiety disorder symptoms can be manageable at times, but without structure or positive coping mechanisms, teens can fall into maladaptive coping habits and develop other comorbid problems. If your teen is frequently struggling with doubt, fear, and low self-esteem, they may be facing daily anxious thoughts and have no way of dealing with them.

Get Therapy for Teens at Visions Treatment Centers

Therapy for teens can go a long way towards helping a teen understand why they might feel the way they sometimes do and can help them develop the tools they need to combat negative thoughts and emotions, improve their behavior, and lead a more fulfilling life. Support your teen in getting the help they might need.

For more information about therapy for teens and teen mental health services, contact Visions Treatment Centers.

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Get Help at a Teen Mental Health Program This Year

We may be in the midst of a teen mental health crisis. Teens are experiencing unprecedented rates of anxiety and depression, both of which continue on a steady climb, while information about available mental health resources – like finding a suitable outpatient or residential teen mental health program – appears to lag behind.

It’s important to know how to identify that your teen may need help – and recognize what kind of help might be best for them.

Does Your Teen Need Mental Health Treatment?

A teen mental health program can become relevant for teens when their emotional state and behaviors begin to negatively impact their lives, to the degree that they repeatedly struggle to stay out of trouble at home or at school.

Teen mental health programs are also important to consider when a teen is badly hurt or even hospitalized as a result of actions that they do not appear to be able to control, whether it’s a self-destructive tendency, an extreme attraction to risk, or other forms of volatile behavior.

A teen might see a therapist after the death of their loved one, especially if their grief has been as severe on the hundredth day as on the first. But they won’t necessarily be referred to a teen treatment program unless a thorough mental assessment first determines a likely diagnosis.

It is a mistake to try and diagnose your teen yourself or indulge in what they think they might have. Symptoms of major depression and anxiety can often mask a different mood disorder or something else entirely, like a personality disorder.

Psychiatrists and trained doctors utilize different behavioral tests and one-on-one assessments to help understand and determine a teen’s troubles, and formulate an individual treatment plan that takes their circumstances into account.

What Does a Teen Mental Health Program Look Like?

A teen mental health program is a dedicated therapeutic plan developed by mental health professionals with the aim of addressing a teen’s individual circumstances on a biopsychosocial level – meaning their home life, physical conditions and medical history, social experiences at school and/or work, and significant risk factors, in addition to their mood and mental health history, comorbid conditionscurrent medications, and past treatment plans.

Teen mental health programs usually entail different levels of care. For example, an intensive inpatient program will often include a holistic approach that combines traditional psychotherapy with other treatment modalities, such as animal-assisted therapy, experiential therapy, and treatment-resistant modalities such as EMDR or nerve stimulation, all while providing room and board for teens in treatment.

In other words: teen mental health treatment programs come in different levels, and treatment is prescribed as per a teen’s situation, whether a thorough assessment finds that they’re diagnosed with multiple different mental health issues or a single diagnosis with severe symptoms.

Attributes of a Good Teen Mental Health Program

There are several components to a good teen mental health program. These include:

  • Complete care. Mental health programs are not solely to address a teen’s textbook symptoms. Doctors work with each other to identify all of the factors that are negatively affecting a teen’s thoughts and behavior, including their diagnosis, to create better outcomes.
  • Age-specific programming. Teens and children require different contexts and different forms of care from adults. The symptoms of certain disorders, such as PTSD, are different in teens versus adults. Age-specific programming, including age-specific treatment groups, ensures that teen patients receive tailored treatment.
  • Family involvement. More often than not, teens continue to be shaped by the actions and influences of their parents, even more so than their peers. Ensuring that parents or other family members understand the role they play in and outside of treatment helps create a better environment for teens to return to after their program ends.
  • Evidence-based treatment. Some programs incorporate other elements of care, including spiritual or faith-based care, whether in their therapy sessions or as part of the overarching theme of their clinic. But all good mental health programs must rely on a core of evidence-based treatments, including proven psychotherapy methods, alternative treatment methods with a robust body of work, and appropriately approved medications.
  • Assessment and reassessment of outcomes. Good treatment programs and clinics emphasize rigorous testing and evaluation of their methods and outcomes, whether through testimonials or outside reviews. Look for treatment providers who are proud of their reputation and openly allow former clients to talk about their treatment methods and staff. Avoid clinics that promote secrecy or are hesitant to reveal details about how they treat patients.
  • Individualized care. In addition to complete care, a good teen mental health program champions individualized care – every patient receives the treatment they need, with a treatment plan that is formulated for them after their initial assessment and is adjusted as needed.  
  • And more. Mental health treatment can be complex, and treatment facilities can differ in the modalities and specializations that they offer. Some treatment centers focus on addiction or trauma-related illnesses. Some only cater to teens, creating an environment specifically to help adolescent patients. Some treatment centers focus on providing care to women.

While the core tenets of most teen mental health programs are the same, they offer different levels of care to address patients with different needs. Some patients only need a structured treatment plan that asks them to come to see a professional twice a week and complete certain exercises at home.

Other plans are more rigorous or even require teens to live out on a special compound, such as a residential setting or a psychiatric hospital. These levels of care can generally be differentiated as either outpatient care or inpatient care, with varying degrees of intensity.

What Happens After Treatment?

For most teens, going through a mental health program for the first time is just the beginning of a long road. Most clinics and facilities emphasize that they are a stepping stone for long-term mental health treatment – some people require a lifetime of support through medication and different forms of therapy to mediate severe symptoms and function independently. Some people can bring their mental health condition into “remission” and lead a long and fulfilling life with minimal flare-ups, as long as they continue to take care of their stress and mental well-being. Some people experience a resurgence of symptoms and need an intensive care program before they can control their symptoms and live on their own again.

Your teen’s level of care, and the care they might need going forward, will differ from their peers even with the same diagnosis. Some cases are more severe than others, and some teens require different forms of support than others. But it’s important never to give up and to embrace the fact that we all need help, one way or the other.

For more information about enrolling in a residential treatment center for teens, contact Visions Treatment Centers today.

Bipolar Disorder Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Mental Health Therapy

CBT For Bipolar Teens: What It Is And How It Helps

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has a long history as one of the most effective and successful talk therapy methods to be developed in modern psychotherapy. But what is it, and how does CBT for bipolar disorder in teenagers help?

Understanding the power of therapy is important; more than just a friendly conversation, an experienced therapist leads and guides a patient through a structured, long-term dialogue and goal-oriented mission plan, helping patients learn to identify and isolate the thoughts and behaviors that characterize their mental health problems and make improvements day by day.

For people with bipolar disorder, a chronic mood disorder that can drastically change a person’s mindset, personality, and behavior, therapy can be one of the most powerful tools to mediate symptoms and lead a fulfilling and normal life. This is especially important for teens – an early assessment and treatment, like CBT for bipolar disorder, can help teens develop the coping skills they need to continue to take control of their disorder for years to come and recognize when they need outside help and support.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, the same class of condition as severe or chronic depression. Indeed, depression is one of bipolar disorder’s most common symptoms, in addition to mania or hypomania.

Where depression is a debilitating and inescapable level of sadness and anhedonia (joylessness), mania is the opposite, albeit similarly debilitating mental state, where people experience restlessness and boundless energy in addition to dangerous feelings of grandeur, a loss of natural inhibition, and heightened irritability. It is not uncommon for symptoms of true mania to be severe enough to lead to hospitalization. Meanwhile, hypomania involves a lower intensity of symptoms than regular mania.

A case of bipolar disorder can be classified in multiple different ways.

  • Bipolar I involves at least one severe manic episode, with potential (but not necessary) depressive episodes.
  • Bipolar II describes both hypomanic and depressive episodes, but never just one or the other. A person who has experienced a severe manic episode has bipolar I, even if they experience hypomanic episodes from time to time.
  • Cyclothymia is described as a form of bipolar disorder that features milder symptoms than both bipolar I and II, with moderate symptoms of hypomania and depression. Cyclothymia is only diagnosed after at least two years of chronic mental health symptoms.
  • Other forms of bipolar disorder are either classified as a specified bipolar and related disorder or an unspecified bipolar and related disorder. The former describes symptoms that don’t quite match bipolar I, II, or cyclothymia, while the second is used to label patients who are likely struggling with bipolar disorder but have not been fully or thoroughly assessed yet.

Rapid Cycling in Bipolar Disorder

It should also be noted that, in only about one in ten cases, bipolar disorder can be rapid cycling. In cases of rapid cycling bipolar disorder, depressive and/or manic episodes occur more than four times a year. The average bipolar cycle takes months, contrary to popular belief. People who struggle with bipolar disorder are not constantly changing and shifting in their emotional state from extreme highs to extreme lows. Their mania comes and goes, as does their depression (if they get depressed).

Symptoms of bipolar disorder can take time to properly recognize and professionally assess. Mental health professionals must work with a patient to identify their symptoms and past episodes, and rule out potential conditions that may otherwise explain certain symptoms or might interfere with a diagnosis, such as:

One of the reasons it is important to correctly diagnose a teen with bipolar disorder is that bipolar disorder requires a different treatment process from any of the above mental health issues.

There are also specialized mood stabilizer medications that are typically only prescribed for patients with bipolar disorder. Medication can help moderate-severe symptoms. But medication alone is often insufficient to completely manage bipolar disorder. This is where therapies such as CBT for bipolar disorder and a one-on-one psychotherapy approach become important.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy developed through the combination of two different forms of talk therapy, namely cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Both of these treatment methods were developed separately and for different mental health problems.

Cognitive therapy is characterized by a thought-based approach. Patients learn to identify and alter problematic thoughts through a combination of thought exercises, and by learning to separate the thoughts that trigger their negative moods from healthier thinking patterns. The idea, in many cases, is to take a patient away from blaming the past or themselves and to work on being more mindful of how their own thoughts can spiral them into different situations.

CBT for Bipolar in Teens

Behavioral therapy aims to address and alter the things we do. By focusing on actions, behavioral therapy can help teens learn better coping skills, stress management options and identify maladaptive behavior that contributes negatively to their mental health. A big part of behavioral therapy is learning to change these negative behaviors, and encourage positive action.

A combination of thought analysis and maladaptive behavioral pattern recognition can help teens with bipolar disorder through intensive one-on-one sessions, usually lasting an hour or longer.

Research shows that individuals undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy for bipolar disorder usually had fewer hospitalizations, fewer episodes, and lower rates of medication use while improving their psychosocial functioning, reducing the severity of their manic symptoms, and reducing depression.

Do I Need Treatment?

If you or a loved one are struggling with consistent and recurring depressive thoughts, as well as occasional symptoms of mania or manic thought – from completely uncharacteristic feats of performance at work or school after months of being in a slump or unusual energy levels and a change in personality – you may want to talk to a counselor or therapist about getting a professional assessment for your mental and physical health.

Bipolar disorder can be a lifelong condition, and though some people can cope with mild symptoms while undiagnosed, it can be a debilitating condition for millions of others.

Get the help you deserve today. Reach out to Visions Treatment Centers for more information.

Depression Mental Health Mood Disorders Therapy Treatment

Is Depression Medication for Teens Better Than Therapy?

Teen depression is one of the most common adolescent mental health issues in the world, second only to teen anxiety disorders. Depression is a serious and often debilitating mental health issue among teens and remains the most common cause of disability in the US. And for parents looking for different treatment options for their child, it’s not uncommon to wonder if depression medication for teens would be a better alternative than therapy or if it would be best to seek both.

Let’s talk about it.

When It’s More Than Sadness

More than just sadness, depression is overwhelming fatigue, unexplained aches, total loss of joy, increased pain sensitivity, lack of ability to generate or feel motivation, and unknown flare-ups in symptoms.

Many teens who struggle with depression struggle academically, have a hard time developing to their full potential and go through a much tougher road in life. Thankfully, depression is treatable. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan that works.

How Is Depression Treated?

The first line treatment for any teen or adult with major depressive disorder, the most common mood disorder and most common form of depression is a combination of psychotherapy and selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

SSRIs are some of the most recent antidepressants in a long line of different drug families, and they are some of the most well-researched psychiatric drugs in the world. But they are not a miracle cure for depression, and they often don’t work too well just on their own.

Psychotherapy is one-on-one talk therapy between a trained mental health professional and a patient. In the case of depression, the most commonly used therapeutic method is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy developed in the 1970s and 1980s by combining the individual successes of cognitive therapy (focused on patient thoughts and thinking patterns) and behavioral therapy (focused on habits, actions, and controlling one’s responses in life).

When combined, modern SSRIs and talk therapy represent the most successful treatment plan for depressed patients. But the success rate is never 100 percent. Furthermore, it can take time for both therapy and the medication to work.

What Are Antidepressants?

There are half a dozen different subtypes of SSRI and well over a dozen branded and generic SSRI drugs. Each of these compounds reacts in different patients differently, with varied potential side effects and side effect severity. Some people react the least to citalopram, while others are better off on sertraline.

When a patient takes a recommended SSRI, it can take multiple weeks for the drug to begin taking effect. If side effects show up and they inhibit a patient’s life, it can take several more weeks for the drug to be completely flushed out before a different compound is used.

SSRIs are not addictive nor particularly dangerous. The side effects can be frustrating – such as weight gain, loss of sex drive, and drowsiness – but SSRIs are very, very rarely associated with serious risks, such as rare cases of increased suicidality or heart arrhythmia. Nevertheless, it can take a few different tries until a patient finds a drug that works best for them.

If no SSRIs work well, a patient may consider different, older classes of antidepressants, such as SNRIstricyclic antidepressantsMAOIs, and atypical antidepressants. While these may work, they are usually associated with a higher risk of side effects.

Therapy for Depression

Talk therapy is not a drug and does not have conventional side effects. But as far as treatment methods go, there is no guarantee that a patient will respond well to individual therapy either. Some teens are very receptive, while others have a much harder time responding or opening up in therapy. Some teens do better in a group setting, while others prefer solely one-on-one therapy sessions. While CBT is the premier therapeutic treatment method, there are other valid forms of talk therapy for depression, including dialectic behavioral therapy, behavioral activation therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy.

Even among first-line treatments – like antidepressants and therapy – it’s hard to say which is better. Furthermore, it’s hard to say which is best for your teen. SSRIs and CBT are the most studied treatment methods, but that does not mean you or your teen won’t respond better to older drugs and a completely different therapy plan.

Are Antidepressants Better Than Placebo?

The research on antidepressants can be confusing. There are studies supporting the continued use of antidepressants in the treatment of depression. There are also conflicting review papers that find that antidepressants match placebo at best and that serotonin availability may not be a factor in depressive symptoms.

One particularly polarizing review involved a thorough analysis of the evidence behind the serotonin theory of depression, one of the cornerstones of antidepressant use. It found that there is no consistent evidence nor support for the hypothesis that depression is caused by lowered serotonin activity based on current research.

Furthermore, the criteria for inclusion in a phase III trial for an antidepressant do not necessarily reflect the reality of the majority of people who are prescribed antidepressants. Many people who take antidepressants would not actually be included in a clinical trial for the drug they are taking.

The rabbit hole of research on the efficacy of depression treatments goes deep. Here are some interesting things research can tell us:

  • Mindset matters a lot. A patient’s receptiveness to both therapy and antidepressant drugs can be highly indicative of their success.
  • Antidepressants need more research. The link between depression and serotonin availability is not clear, and what we do know tells us that medication on its own is not often a useful therapeutic tool.
  • Patients differ wildly. Depression is a condition with many comorbid conditions, all of which can modify and exacerbate depressive symptoms. Teens with depression often also struggle with anxiety, with chronic health issues like asthma and irritable bowel syndrome, or may have a history of drug use. Treatment plans must be highly individualized to help patients.

Depression Medication for Teens or Therapy: Which is Best?

Based on what we currently know, the best available answer is both, although therapy may be more important than medication.

While the serotonin theory of depression may not hold up in the long term, antidepressants seem to work – even if their mechanism of action is not completely understood. What we can agree on is that medication use must occur alongside therapy for the best effect.

Furthermore, not all teens will respond effectively to medication and therapy. Some teens need a different treatment approach or need a treatment plan that takes other factors into consideration, including comorbid mental and physical health conditions.

What About Treatment-Resistant Depression Options?

There are other treatments for depression than just antidepressants and therapy. However, the jury is often still out on these treatments. They include ketamine (a controversial dissociative anesthetic drug), electroconvulsive therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Despite being one of the most common mental health conditions on the planet, depression is not completely understood. In any given case, careful consideration of all factors is needed, and treatment must be individualized. More importantly, therapy nearly always plays an important role in depression treatment.

Get Depression Treatment for Teens

Are you or your teen struggling with depression? Reach out to Visions Treatment Center to explore depression treatment for teens today.

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Can a Teenager Refuse Mental Health Treatment?

Can a teenager refuse mental health treatment?

It’s an important question many parents ask themselves when faced with a teen who refuses to get help for their worsening mental health symptoms. The answer is that it depends. For the most part, minors cannot refuse care – but some states do insist that mental healthcare providers need a minor’s consent to continue treatment. And most therapists and psychiatrists will not work with a teen if they are not interested in seeking help, unless their care has been court-appointed.

If your teen is an adult – meaning, 18 or older – then there’s nothing you can do to force them to seek treatment. The most you can do with a teen under the age of 18 is force them to show up to the therapist’s office – but without their consent and willing participation, the whole exercise can feel a little pointless. And remember, depending on the state you live in, you may not be able to force your teen into any kind of mental health treatment without their consent.

An inpatient program can help, a little bit. You can make your minor go to rehab, but it’ll likely damage your relationship with them if it isn’t something they ever agreed to, and it can take a lot of time for them to begin opening up to the lessons they will potentially learn while in recovery. This can be a very expensive mistake.

What Should I Do If a Teen Refuses Treatment?

Depending on your teen’s condition, they may be interned in a psychiatric hospital or may be forced to go to rehab against their will. Psychiatric hospitalization is a short-term treatment plan utilized in cases where people suffer from an acute episode of self-harm, suicide, psychosis, or other mental health conditions that cause harm to themselves or others around them.

After psychiatric hospitalization, a person is often referred to an inpatient program or an intensive outpatient program, such as a partial hospitalization program, to transition back to living at home. All in all, it can take multiple weeks for them to return home and feel better.

In some cases, a court might force someone to go into rehab for their condition. Court-mandated or court-ordered rehab is only imposed in cases where people committed a crime in connection to their drug use. If your teen went on a drinking spree and drove drunk, endangering others, they may choose to go to rehab instead of facing jail time.

But if you’re aware of your teen’s condition and its worsening symptoms, you will want to fight as hard as you can to make sure it doesn’t have to come to that. You can work with a therapist to convince your teen that getting help is the best thing for them to do right now.

Should I Even Force Mental Health Treatment on My Teen?

It’s rare for your only option to be to force your teen into treatment, whether it’s a therapist’s office or an inpatient facility for drug use. You may still have options in between.

The most obvious downside to seeking forced treatment is that your teen doesn’t want it. This means they won’t be receptive to treatment. They won’t trust their treatment providers, be dismissive towards therapists and other treatment specialists and professionals, and have a harder time benefiting from treatment in any possible way.

It’s hard enough as it is to successfully seek help for conditions like depressiondrug addiction, and anxiety and come out the other end with improved symptoms and a better quality of life. It’s much harder when you start off vehemently against the idea of getting help. However, you may have other options.

Talking to a Professional About Interventions

Interventions are basically confrontations between loved ones or family members with the goal of convincing the target person to seek the help they need. Interventions might feel famously cliché, but when done right, they can break through to a person and make them realize that getting treatment really is the best thing for them and what they need to do right now.

Teens may be becoming adults, but they’re still ultimately children, and they may be your children. Mental health symptoms can be scary and make the world a more terrifying place to be in. Seeking help might be something they’ve been conditioned to avoid or not accept, and helping them remember or learn that it’s okay to be helped can open them up to finally seeking care.

It’s important to talk from the heart here, but it’s also important to stick to the framework your therapist provides. It’s easy for interventions to break down into arguments, and that will not be conducive to your goal.

Try To “Sell” Your Teen on Mental Health Treatment

Your teen might have all manner of misconceptions about what treatment really means. Maybe they’re worried about having to take medications and being forced to endure all manner of side effects. Maybe they’ve heard horror stories about bad therapists and poor experiences in rehab centers. It’s important to talk to them about their treatment expectations and find out what it is they’re specifically worried about.

Most teens who struggle with anxiety or depression to a debilitating degree are aware of the fact that they’re different and that they might have trouble with things other people don’t.

Talk to your teen about treatment and what it might mean for them. If your teen feels like committing to treatment ignores all the problems they’re facing at home, consider making a commitment for them. Talk to a therapist about family therapy or group therapy. Take notes and apply what you learn in therapy at home together.

However, some conditions are harder to seek care for. For teens with schizophrenia, it might be hard to convince them to get help if they’re currently experiencing a psychotic break or have been more paranoid than usual.

Some personality disorders also feature paranoia as a primary symptom, which can make it harder to get treatment. Other conditions, like narcissistic personality disorder, may become violent or irritable if you imply that they need help. It may be in your best interest to talk to a therapist about approaching your teen with these conditions.

Commit To Mental Wellness at Home Together

One of the reasons group therapy is helpful to many people is because it helps remind them that they are not alone, and that they are not the only people who need help, or who are getting help. It also allows people to forge new friendships with others who have shared their experiences and have a unique insight into what it might be like to live with certain conditions.

If you and your teen both similarly struggle with certain symptoms, getting help together can not only improve your mental health but strengthen your bond as parent and child.

It’s not easy to convince someone who doesn’t think they need help that they should reach out for it. But if you reach out together, it might feel a little easier.

Mental Health Therapy

Is Online Therapy for Teens Effective?

Online therapy, whether it be for teens, children, or adults, is used to describe any professional treatment plan applied remotely through a credentialled teletherapy program. While online and phone-based therapy programs have been available for years, they have become much more popular with the advent of voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) technologies, cheap/free videoconferencing tools, and online chat rooms. But, specifically speaking, how does online therapy for teens work? And is it effective?

Credentialed and licensed professional therapists can offer online therapy sessions to clients via safe and secure networks on websites, over the phone, or through special apps. While certain forms of teletherapy are relatively novel, the treatment process itself – remote, voice-based, or video therapy sessions – is heavily researched. Current studies show that teletherapy is not just effective but can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.

However, there are pros and cons, as well as security and privacy concerns. Online therapy can be an amazing alternative to face-to-face therapy for a number of different teens, including teens with agoraphobia, teens who are uncomfortable with their initial therapy sessions, teens who struggle with face-to-face communication and prefer text or chatting, and other cases.

But it’s important to do your research. Online vulnerabilities can result in a loss of privacy or the leak of private information. It is important to seek out an online therapy service that prioritizes data protection, patient privacy, and is properly credentialed, in addition to providing an ethical and qualitative healthcare service as an experienced therapist.

Does Teletherapy Work?

We know that teletherapy works. However, whether it works equally for everyone is never a guarantee. Some patients respond better to teletherapy than face-to-face therapy sessions. Some patients are the opposite. In some cases, patients respond best to a treatment plan that begins with teletherapy and then segues into traditional therapy sessions. Figuring out a patient’s needs and making the necessary recommendations to alter their treatment is part of every therapist’s job description.

Online Therapy for Mental Health

Teletherapy has been implemented for the treatment of multiple psychological and physical conditions. Telehealth services, whether consulting a patient on at-home pain management techniques during a flare-up of chronic pain, to providing regularly scheduled therapy for depressive symptoms or symptoms of anxiety, have also grown and become more popular over time, including businesses utilizing the telehealth model such as BetterHelp and Talkspace.

Telehealth has become even more vital over the course of the COVID pandemic, as an alternative to traditional therapy, and a way for clients to continue to communicate with their therapist while maintaining safe social distancing practices.

Who Has Access to Teletherapy Services?

These practices have not been without controversy. Not all patients can adequately access teletherapy services due to a lack of personal technical knowledge. Some websites are not safe, not properly credentialed, or do not host professional staff. People who seek teletherapy services are often vulnerable and in need of immediate help. This makes them more likely to be affected by Internet scammers looking to steal private information.

Some problems are less obvious. BetterHelp, for example, landed itself in hot water recently for advertising itself as a matchmaking business between patients and healthcare professionals in YouTube influencer spots. However, the company’s own terms and conditions do not guarantee the help of a mental health professional, nor do they speak to the quality of their so-called “Counselors.”

If you are interested in making the most of a telehealth feature, be sure to utilize the services of a private practice, a mental health clinic, or a credentialed psychiatrist or therapist.

Be sure about the qualifications, experience, and reputation of the professional you wish to work with. Like any other therapy service, it is important that you feel comfortable and confident in your choice of therapist.

How Is Online Therapy for Teens Structured?

Online therapy programs differ from provider to provider. In general, non-public platforms are used to communicate with patients and provide specialized, one-on-one care. These include therapy-specific web platforms, as well as common teleconferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.

Online Therapy and Privacy

In the case of a general-purpose meeting software or business communications platform, passwords and individualized invite links are usually used to ensure privacy. Only platforms that are HIPAA-compliant may be used for telehealth services, including professional teletherapy. That means utilizing only platforms that have the minimum security and encryption standards needed to keep others from easily listening in on your therapy sessions.

Techniques in Online Therapy

Different forms of therapy have been proven effective over online therapy platforms, most importantly including cognitive behavioral therapy.

Your online therapy will be structured according to your needs. That might mean one session per week or as many as five or six weekly sessions. Sessions could be shorter or longer. Some therapists include the use of visual aids, such as PowerPoint presentations and infographics to help teach patients about different treatment techniques, coping mechanisms, and recovery skills. The number of online sessions you require will also differ depending on the severity of your condition, the nature of your diagnosis, and the professional opinions of your psychiatrist.

The First Online Session

Your first few sessions might feel a little awkward. Here are some important tips to make the most out of online therapy:

  • Use headphones. Not only does that keep your conversation private, but it can help keep out distracting noises.
  • Find a well-lit but quiet part of the house where you can start your therapy in private. A room with a lock and a window, for example.
  • If you are using your phone, try to get a tripod or phone stand. This way, your hand won’t get tired from holding the device, and you can use both hands for note-taking.
  • Consider getting a notebook to take notes for your therapy and continued recovery. Writing can be helpful in reviewing what you’ve written in the future, but it can also help to keep your therapy lessons fresh in mind.

Most qualified examples of online therapy utilize the professional services of a credentialed therapist. However, there are also therapy-like services offered by websites using trained chatbots or non-professional chatting companions. While some studies do show that teens have successfully used these programs and chatbots to help soothe emotional distress, they are far less effective than a professional service.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Therapy for Teens?

There are a few distinct advantages and potential disadvantages to utilizing online therapy for teens.

  • Online therapy is an effective alternative for teens in rural areas or where access to mental healthcare is limited.
  • Online therapy is especially helpful for teens who are immunocompromised or struggling with a different chronic health condition and might not want to risk infection.
  • Teletherapy services might be cheaper than an outpatient program while offering many of the same perks.
  • Online therapy might feel more comfortable to you if you are anxious about visiting a therapist’s office or need to rely on someone else for transportation.
  • You may feel more comfortable with private online therapy and may be able to start seeking help without necessarily alerting your family.

However, there are also potential disadvantages to utilizing online therapy for teens.

  • Telehealth services, including teletherapy, are not always covered by insurance.
  • Some people benefit more greatly from face-to-face treatment. There are limitations to voice-only or screen-based therapy for certain people.
  • Online communication requires good verbal and text skills. Your teen might not be able to fully convey how they feel without body language, which can be frustrating.

Looking for Online Therapy for Teens?

Should you consider online therapy as an option for yourself or your teen? Under most circumstances, yes. If you or your loved one might feel more comfortable starting treatment through an online therapy program, then it is certainly an idea worth pursuing, and they can still transition into face-to-face therapy or an outpatient program in the future.

For more information about Visions Treatment Centers and online therapy for teens, get in contact with us today.

Mental Health Therapy Treatment

What Can a Teen Mental Health Center Treat?

Mental healthcare can be an involved and intense process. Therapy can go a long way, but there are times when a teen needs more than a weekly session with their therapist to make significant progress. In such case, attending a teen mental health center for residential treatment is a great choice.

Some conditions are harder to treat than others, and controlling certain factors – such as a teen’s schedule or environment through a teen mental health center – can help a teen understand and overcome their symptoms and develop the coping skills needed for an effective long-term reprieve.

What Is a Teen Mental Health Center Like?

Mental health centers differ in size, shape, and intended purpose. Like an urgent care clinic or private practice, different clinics specialize in different types of treatments and mental health programs. Specialization is important – in cases of severe mental illness, a specialized environment and experienced mental health staff are necessary to make a difference.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment

A mental health center will usually provide either inpatient or outpatient services, or both.

Inpatient services require a teen to stay at the facility while receiving treatment, including overnight stays and day-to-day activities. Some specialized inpatient mental health facilities include day schools and a plethora of activities and amenities to help teens feel at home, meet new peers, and keep up with their schoolmates.

Outpatient programs, on the other hand, allow a teen to stay at home and continue going to school while receiving continued care at a mental health facility on an appointment basis. Some outpatient programs, such as intensive outpatient care, may require a teen to visit the facility for multiple hours a day, five or six times a week. Other programs are more relaxed but will usually still require multiple appointments per week.

Other Treatment Services

Sometimes, mental health facilities are prepared to receive patients who need more intensive care. Psychiatric hospitals, for example, exist to cater to and tend to patients being hospitalized for a short period of time. Where outpatient or most inpatient treatment programs can last weeks and months, a stay at a psychiatric hospital is often no more than a few weeks.

Partial hospitalization is another form of outpatient treatment, considered a half-step between inpatient programs and an intensive outpatient facility. In many cases, partial hospitalization is used as a transitory step, helping patients move away from rehab and into long-term psychiatric support through an outpatient program and therapy in the outside world.

In a partial hospitalization program, a patient who would otherwise need to be hospitalized, who has just come from an inpatient program, or who might be at risk of relapse can seek intensive short-term care – no more than a few weeks – to focus on pivoting towards living alone or with family, and continuing support through group meetings or one-on-one therapy sessions.

Between partial hospitalization, outpatient program, psychiatric hospitals, and inpatient programs, mental health centers prepare for a wide variety of conditions and disorders.

When Is a Teen Mental Health Center Necessary?

Treatment at a mental health center may be necessary for your teen if first-line treatment through a therapist or psychiatrist is not enough. Depending on your teen’s condition, it may be difficult for them to make progress without more intense support.

While therapy can help, a lot of the leg work involved in overcoming feelings of depression or anxiety is ultimately related to consistent and daily changes in thinking and lifestyle, in addition to the effects of medication. Without the right support at home or in more severe cases, a teen will require inpatient or outpatient programming to benefit from their treatment plan.

Some Conditions Require Intensive Treatment

Some conditions are more likely to lead to intensive treatment than others. For example, severe schizophrenia can lead to long-lasting delusions, hallucinations, memory problems, and periods of confusion. A teen with schizophrenia may require a clinical setting and the help of multiple professionals working together to get the right treatment. Afterward, an outpatient program can help these teens continue to seek care while adjusting to life outside of therapy, sticking to their new schedules, their medication, and their new coping skills.

Substance use disorder is another example of a disorder that frequently calls for mental health treatment at a professional facility. Rehab at home or going cold turkey is often ill-advised for professionals, both due to the high risk of relapse and the physical dangers of an uncontrolled or improperly supervised withdrawal period.

If seeing a professional is not enough, in your teen’s opinion, consider talking to them about seeking out a treatment program at a mental health center. Here are a few examples of when you might want to talk to your teen about visiting a treatment center together.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in the world, but there are many different kinds of anxious and depressive disorders. Severe depressive disorders can include symptoms of self-harm and suicidal ideation, sometimes necessitating professional supervision while a teen receives treatment.

In cases of anxiety disorders, some conditions such as post-traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or severe phobias may require intensive outpatient treatment to overcome the strongest symptoms and help a teen reintegrate into everyday living.

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder, or addiction, is one of the more common conditions that may require inpatient or outpatient treatment at a mental health center. Drug addiction can be a difficult habit to break, not least of which because it is often entrenched both physically and psychologically.

Furthermore, more than half of people with substance use disorders struggle with at least one other mental health disorder (dual diagnosis), which can compound and complicate treatment. An inpatient program can help teens detox safely and begin their rehab journey in a drug-free environment.

Personality Disorders

There are ten recognized personality disorders, each with its own unique set of symptoms and characteristics, across three major clusters.

Many personality disorders are chronic or even lifelong conditions. Under certain circumstances and severe symptoms, a teen might need treatment at a specialized facility to learn to control and mitigate the symptoms of their disorder and improve their overall quality of life.


Psychosis is characterized by experiencing, seeing, hearing, or even smelling things that aren’t there. When a person experiences a “psychotic break,” this usually means that their perception of the world around them has separated itself from reality. The most well-known psychotic disorder is schizophrenia, but there are several different conditions with hallucinatory or psychotic symptoms, including physical conditions such as brain tumors or head trauma.

Treating psychosis can be difficult, especially if a teen patient becomes paranoid or suspicious of their surroundings. Trust, in addition to patience, are important aspects of treatment.  

Do You Need Professional Help?

If you are unsure whether you or a loved one require an intensive treatment plan, please consider discussing it with your doctor or therapist. They may be able to refer you to a potential treatment facility or give you personalized advice.

If your loved one is struggling with a mental health condition that often requires inpatient or outpatient treatment through a clinic or a teen mental health center, then consider talking to them about it – and scheduling an appointment together. Struggling with mental illness is frustrating and often terrifying. Receiving help and support from others, especially those we love, goes a long way towards soothing those feelings.

For more information about Visions Treatment Centers, please contact us anytime.

Mental Health Recovery School Therapy

Teen Academic Support During Therapy

In both inpatient and outpatient cases, teens undergoing treatment for a psychiatric condition will face daily challenges and undergo a long-term transformation. Yet, in inpatient treatment cases, teens will often be asked to leave behind their friends, school, and family to spend time in a completely different setting, whether for just a few weeks or several months. And while this is happening, it’s natural to ponder about continuing academia or teen academic support during therapy.

This can be a reason for some teens to reconsider or worry about the implications of mental health treatment. Is it worth putting everything on hold to “get better”? And what if it doesn’t work?

Not Being Left Behind

Life is challenging as it is – juggling relationships, family, and school responsibilities can be daunting, and for many teens, seeking help might mean having to forego some of these responsibilities. Teens don’t want to be left behind, whether it’s academically or socially.

Assuaging these fears is important. And this is why academic support is crucial.

A New Setting Can be Overwhelming

Residential treatment centers usually entail taking a teen out of their usual environment and putting them in a completely new setting, with new peers, new therapists, and different faces. This can be overwhelming – but it’s not all new. Teens in residential therapy will still have school responsibilities, they will still have teachers, they will still have lessons and curriculums, and they will still have peers to talk to.

Consistency is Key

Having these elements stay consistent in a teen’s life, both within and outside the context of therapy, is important. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and even psychosis can thrive in chaos and confusion. Consistent schedules, ongoing responsibilities, and opportunities for self-improvement can help teens focus on the day-to-day task at hand, avoid rumination, and build up their self-esteem – while keeping them on an equal playing field with their friends and peers back in school.

Should Teens in School Go into Treatment?

This is a trick question – mental health treatment needs to be made available to everyone who needs it and wants it, and everyone who needs or wants it should be able to confidently seek help from a mental health professional and get a treatment plan tailored to their circumstances and symptoms.

Teens are no exception, and in fact, adolescence is one of the most important periods to tackle mental health issues, as it provides greater opportunities for therapists and mental health professionals to impart the importance of healthy coping skills, and help teens tackle their symptoms before they grow worse in adulthood or lead to co-dependent health issues later in life.

However, treatment for teens needs to take their circumstances into account just as much as it does for adults. Adults who cannot afford to leave work won’t be able to consider residential treatment as an option, for example.

Teen Residential Treatment and Therapeutic Day School

In the case of teen treatment, residential treatment can be made possible through a robust and accredited academic program that continues to instruct teens as per state- or school-specific curriculum, offering them the opportunity to keep up with their peers while seeking help for their symptoms.

It’s still work. Teens in treatment will be expected to show up to lessons, do homework, and prepare for exams – all while continuing to attend treatment sessions, both individually and in groups, and participating in group activities. Preparing for your SATs or college application deadlines while going to therapy for a dual diagnosis can be tough.

But a day school in a residential treatment facility sets itself apart from a regular day-to-day classroom in that teens in treatment can seek individualized tutoring and may be better able to learn within the setting of a residential treatment clinic versus a conventional classroom.

Synergizing Academic Achievement and Mental Health Treatment

Meanwhile, there is synergy between promoting academic achievement and the mental health treatment process. Just as doing better mentally can help you study, an individually tailored academic program can help you feel better mentally.

Some teens don’t respond well to the typical structure of a school day or haven’t managed to find a way to study that suits them, especially if they’re struggling with the symptoms of a neurobehavioral disorder like ADHD.

Individualized Support and Education

Individualized support in the form of a day school at a residential treatment center can help teens balance studying with their mental health, improve their ability to cope with stressors while retaining information, and find alternative ways to prepare for tests and learn without the pressure and classroom setting of a normal school. Furthermore, day school programs help teens ensure that they aren’t left behind while in therapy and synergize treatment with a teen’s day-to-day academic responsibilities.

Helping teens improve their responses to stressors and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead are important parts of therapy. Some teens are too afraid to speak up about their depressive feelings or anxiety symptoms because they don’t want these things to jeopardize their chances at college, affect their relationships, or be a burden on their grades. But they are – if left untreated.

Teens with mental health issues have a much harder time retaining information and doing well at school – and these issues can continue to be exacerbated later in adulthood.

Furthermore, adolescence is a crucial chapter in the rest of a teen’s life – academic performance can have an impact on career options and college opportunities. Helping teens improve their grades through residential treatment serves as a major boon for the rest of their lives.

Choosing a Residential Treatment Clinic

Residential treatment centers differ in the modalities they offer and the facilities they have. Not all residential treatment clinics offer a day school and teen academic support programs for teens. When choosing a treatment clinic for yourself or your loved one, choose one with an accredited academic program and a reputation for helping teens continue their studies while in treatment.

A residential or inpatient treatment clinic is often just the first step in a longer journey. In many cases, mental health isn’t about curing a defect, but about learning to cope with one’s unique circumstances, and living a full and happy life in spite of the challenges one faces.

Teen Academic Support During Therapy at Visions Treatment Centers

If you or your teen is considering entering into residential treatment but worried about falling behind in academics, contact us today.

At Visions Treatment Centers, we offer Day School for teen academic support while receiving therapy. With a consistent schedule and custom-made curriculum plan, you or your teen will get the professional help they need while maintaining grades, social activities, and more.

Adolescence Therapy Treatment

Breaking the Silence with Talk Therapy

Teens can benefit from talk therapy just as much as adults, whether it’s for mood swings and anxiety issues, or exam blues, relationship troubles, and school pressure. Talk therapy is not limited to people with mental health conditions and can be a powerful tool to enable introspection and a healthier outlook on life even when a person considers themselves mentally healthy.

The argument for talk therapy can be summed up as preventative care: making sure minor problems don’t brew into major issues down the line, while helping teens build life skills that will continue to serve them as bastions of resilience and strength against mental health issues in the future.

What is Talk Therapy?

Talk therapy is another term for psychotherapy or individual therapy. In talk therapy, a patient and a therapist discuss a patient’s thoughts, concerns, experiences, worries, ambitions, and more.

The point of each therapy session is to make progress on the patient’s mental wellbeing, which may involve thought exercises and “homework,” such as writing a daily journal entry or making observations about one’s responses and emotional states at work or at school.

Combining Talk Therapy with Therapeutic Methods

Different forms of talk therapy apply different questions and therapeutic methods to help a patient make progress. Nearly all therapy centers around introspection, wherein a therapist helps their patient reflect on their way of thinking and their coping methods in order to think healthier, more positive thoughts and develop better, more effective coping skills.

As an example, a therapist treating a teen with depression through cognitive behavioral therapy may teach their patient to identify and isolate self-deprecating and negative thoughts, to dissociate from them, and use positive affirmations to negate these thoughts. These positive affirmations will be rooted in truth, focusing on the teen’s strengths or positive attributes.

It might not feel convincing or effective at first, but reinforcing this type of mental work can, in turn, change the way a patient feels, creating a stronger self-image and healthier self-esteem. This can take as few as five or as many as 20 sessions.

Talk Therapy isn’t Always Used Alone

Talk therapy is not always used on its own. It may be reinforced through medication, helping the brain dull severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem while training a teen to refute and replace unwanted thoughts when they arise.

How Does Talk Therapy Help with Depression?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most used talk therapy method for cases of depression. Depression in teens can range from a mild or temporary issue to a long-term chronic condition, or a severe and debilitating mental health problem. Regardless of severity, talk therapy is often a central part of treating a depressed patient.

It is true that you cannot “talk your way out” of a depression. It is also true that conditions like depression do not have a cure. Mood disorders are mental health conditions that may resolve themselves over time but are often chronic and long-lasting. For teens with depression, this might mean struggling with dark thoughts from time to time, for years or decades.

Talk Therapy Builds Reinforcements Against Depression

The point of talk therapy is to reinforce habits that help a teen build resilience against these thoughts, anticipate and isolate them, learn not to listen to them, and learn how to refute them with real-life examples of joy and happiness.

We also know that conditions like depression are exacerbated and disarmed by risk factors and protective factors alike. Excessive stress and poor physical health can make depressive symptoms worse and more frequent. Taking care of oneself, spending more wholesome time with friends, and insisting on a healthier work-life balance can help keep depression at bay.

In many cases, talk therapy involves helping patients lay the foundation for the habits and mindset that will keep them safe from depressing thoughts in the future.

Therapy and Addiction

Substance use is another condition where talk therapy, both individual therapy, and group therapy, plays an important role in treatment. Substance use disorder or addiction is a very complicated health problem with compounding social, physical, and psychological factors.

While talk therapy alone does not address all these factors, it can be key to helping patients re-establish themselves in the aftermath of addiction, reaffirm their interests, reclaim their hobbies, and emphasize their newfound lives in sobriety.

There are very few medications for addiction – some medications help cut down on alcohol cravings, for example, while others block the effects of addictive substances like opioids, eliminating the high.

Most of the work in overcoming and surviving addiction relies on guided introspection through one-on-one therapy and group therapy sessions, positive affirmations, healthy coping mechanisms to avoid or defeat cravings, and a long-term support plan.

How Can I Convince My Teen to Try Therapy?

More than half of those who are diagnosed with a mental health problem are not getting the help they need. In many cases, it’s a matter of misinformation, fear of judgment, financial worry, and other factors. In your teen’s case, they may be worried about what might happen if news got out about their therapy. Or, they might be worried that it won’t work and that you would be wasting your time and money.

Sometimes, just talking to your teen will be enough to get them to try it out. Letting them know that you’re in their corner and want them to get the best possible care is important. At other times, it may take more than a single heart-to-heart. Consulting with a therapist beforehand might get you some important pointers on how to bring your teen to therapy.

Being a teen represents being at a major crossroads in life physically, socially, and mentally. Teens are at the cusp of their transformation into adulthood, which brings with it a set of responsibilities and new authorities they need to learn to manage.

Meanwhile, becoming an adult means teens will be expected to do more, first at school, then in the workplace, introducing more sources of overwhelming stress. While all this is happening, teens are struggling with their own emotional and sexual identity and maturity, learning to develop as individuals and cementing their personality traits.

Talk therapy can help teens navigate these issues and accompanying life stressors, before they’re further complicated by anxious or depressed thinking, or other symptoms of illness. In teens who are already struggling with a condition like depression, talk therapy can help them navigate their thoughts and develop better habits.

For more information, contact us today. We are here to help you and your teen. At Visions Treatment Centers, we offer residential treatment programs for teens that address various mental health conditions and diagnoses.

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