As a parent, it can be hard to know how best to help when your child is struggling with depression. Of course, you want to do whatever you can to support them and ensure they get the help they need—but where do you start? Finding a safe, secure environment where teens can receive mental health treatment can be extremely difficult, not to mention daunting. Resources and support may not be readily available for teens, and parents may have difficulty finding a safe and secure environment for their children.
Fortunately, this is where dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) comes into play. Unlike traditional talk therapy, DBT focuses on teaching your teen practical skills that target the specific challenges associated with depression. As a result, it’s particularly effective for teens with impulsive behavior, extreme emotions, or those who engage in self-harm. And best of all, DBT is now available online, making it easier for teens to access this specialized form of treatment. In this article, we’ll explore the effectiveness of online DBT therapy as a teen depression treatment and explain why online therapy is so effective in helping teenagers who struggle with depression.
What is Teen Depression, and Why is it Prevalent?
Despite our best efforts to keep our kids safe from the world’s troubles and protect them from mental health issues, teen depression, and anxiety are rising. Many factors contribute to the development of depression, including bullying, traumatic experiences at school like school shootings, problems at home, family genetics, and life events such as the loss of a loved one. Other factors like peer pressure, low self-esteem, and difficulties in making and keeping friends can also lead to depression in teenagers. To top it off, rapidly fluctuating hormonal changes during puberty can also play a part in triggering depression.
Teen depression can take various forms, such as low energy, irritability, sleep difficulties, appetite changes, and sometimes physical symptoms like headaches or stomach pains. Adolescents may exhibit extreme mood swings and disruptive behavior, making it challenging for parents to initiate discussions about their emotional well-being. In addition, parents may find it hard to spot depression symptoms in their children because they may hide or suppress their emotions. Beyond this, symptoms of depression often overlap with the natural changes and challenges of adolescence, further complicating identification.
Teen Depression, Unchecked
Depression among teenagers can develop into a severe condition and impact their daily routine and ability to function. Parents should be vigilant for indications such as declining academic performance, isolation from friends and hobbies, struggles at school or home, and even contemplation of self-harm. If not addressed, adolescent depression can continue into adulthood, heightening the likelihood of substance abuse, anxiety, and other mental health problems.
DBT, with its focus on acceptance and change, offers a valuable approach for helping teens struggling with depression. By balancing thoughts and emotions, challenging negative beliefs, and addressing harmful behaviors, DBT equips adolescents with coping strategies and essential life skills. Group and individual therapy sessions reinforce skill-building in the areas of problem-solving, mindfulness, and interpersonal effectiveness, enabling teens to regulate their emotions better, manage stressors effectively, and develop healthy ways of reacting in difficult circumstances. With DBT, your teen can gain greater control over their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and develop healthy coping strategies to manage depression.
Developing Coping Skills and Emotional Regulation with DBT
The ultimate goal of DBT is to help teens regulate their emotions better to cope with stressors more effectively. Additionally, DBT helps teens look for healthier ways of reacting when faced with difficult circumstances, such as:
- Identifying and managing triggers
- Learning how to communicate in a constructive way
- Establishing self-soothing techniques to reduce anxiety and stress levels
Teens need to learn these skills as they are often overwhelmed by intense or negative emotions for which they lack the necessary tools and life experience. Fortunately, teenagers can improve their emotional state by working hard with the assistance of a qualified therapist to learn effective methods of managing their emotions.
Why DBT Helps with Teen Depression
DBT is an excellent teen depression treatment. It is an effective option that directly targets the problem’s root cause–helping teens understand and change their cognitive patterns that lead to negative behavior.
Improving emotional regulation and enhancing in-the-moment coping skills are a clear focus for DBT sessions with teens. Not only is it important for teens to be able to recognize, label, and connect the dots between their emotional and physical reality, but teens must also learn to withstand the knee-jerk reaction that their emotions inspire. For teens, learning to distance themselves from the impulsive cries of their emotions is key to giving them agency in their life.
For teens struggling with depression, this can be invaluable because DBT helps them feel more in control and able to cope with life’s obstacles without getting overwhelmed or turning to unhealthy behaviors as a form of self-protection from their inner turmoil.
Benefits of Online DBT Therapy for Teens
Online DBT therapy has emerged as a valuable resource for parents seeking help for their depressed teenagers. Online therapy offers specialized care and the same quality of treatment as in-person therapy while providing unique benefits, making it an ideal option for teens who struggle to engage in in-person treatment. These benefits include:
The convenience of online DBT therapy is its most attractive quality. Teens can access help from the comfort and privacy of home at times that can accommodate their busy lives and fit into their schedules. There’s no need to worry about traffic, uncomfortable waiting rooms, or trekking to a therapy session—your teen can log in right when their session starts to be on time.
Online DBT opens up care options that may not be available locally; this means teens can access DBT specialists that may not live nearby or offer in-office sessions but still provide top-notch care. Our DBT Specialists are available to meet with anyone who is a resident of New York, whether or not you’re near one of our offices on Long Island, or downtown NYC.
Teens have grown up in a digital world. Numerous adolescents find it easier to communicate their thoughts and emotions through online or phone conversations rather than in-person interactions. This can foster a stronger connection with their therapist, crucial for achieving positive results.
Privacy Concerns and Quality of Care When Seeking Online Therapy
You may be wondering about the privacy concerns and quality of care when seeking online DBT therapy for your teen; we get that. There is no need to worry! When seeking online DBT therapy, several measures are in place to ensure your teen gets the best possible care while still maintaining their privacy. Here are just a few examples:
- All therapists providing online DBT therapy are required to be licensed and certified
- All sessions are conducted with encryption technology, so all information shared remains private
- Online DBT therapists use strict policies regarding the review and storage of patient records
It can be challenging for teens to seek help for depression since they often rely on their parents to take the first step. Fortunately, online DBT therapy is a dependable and accessible option for teens struggling with depression and teaches coping skills that can last a lifetime. Furthermore, online DBT therapy provides a safe, secure, and private environment for teens to receive the help they need while still having access to the same level of care as offline. Teen depression can be highly debilitating, but with the appropriate assistance, teens can discover the strength to lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.