Teen Depression

Teen depression is common as you struggle with the multiple demands of school, grades, friends, social pressures, and more.  Teenagers have lots to figure out and sometimes you feel your trying to put it together without the instruction manual.  You have to figure out how to fit in, what group you belong to, and what your career will be after high school.  Those are big stressors just in themselves.

Dating and peep pressure to drink or use drugs are another factor in teen depression.  I counsel a lot of teenagers with depression. They often feel like everyone at school is using drugs or drinking.  Or, the kids they grew up with are getting into trouble and they don’t want to follow what their friends are doing but they don’t want to lose their friends either.  It’s quite a dilemma when you have to figure this one out.

Solution Focused counseling and talking to a therapist who can help you weigh your options and figure out how to deal with these kinds of stressors can help a lot.  The nice thing about solution focused counseling is that the therapist usually asks you guided questions to help you choose your own direction instead of just telling you what to do. It’s more like coaching than counseling. The therapist knows you are doing more things right than wrong, and that you’re capable of making your own decisions; you just need someone to be the sounding board for you and help give some direction to your thinking.

If you’re a parent of someone with teen depression, it can be useful to talk to them about trying counseling.  Most teens try counseling partly because their parents make them and partly because to see if I will be useful.  99% of them decide it’s more helpful than they anticipated and willingly schedule the next appointment.  I suggest parents and their teenager talk about the first session while driving home to decide whether counseling is helpful.

Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He provides counseling for couples, counseling for teenagers, and adults.  He provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, and relationship problems.  For more information, please visit the website at