Child and adolescent mental health
Child and adolescent mental health includes those up to the age of 25, and the therapy is tailored to the developmental stage of the child or young person.
Parents are encouraged to take an active role in the initial stages, this could be attending the session or actively helping with in between session work. Up to the age of 14 it is recommended that either one or both parents attend the initial assessment then we can agree your involvement in the treatment.
CBT is always collaborative and I will work with the young person to agree collaborative goals. For CBT to be effective the young person will want to attend and be willing to talk about change.
The two most common problems with young people are Depression and Anxiety, and CBT is recommended in the Nice Guidelines for young people experiencing such problems. Depression in young people may present as anger, worry, not sleeping, withdrawal from family. excessive computer use.
Here follows a closer look at the problems of Depression and Anxiety:
Depression is becoming a lot more common among young people, it could be a reflection of how the world has changed, everything happens very quickly and there is a lot of expectations on young people. 24hr access to the internet and social media means we are all connected to each other more than any other time in history, but with that connection comes a sense that we are constantly on. Most young people socialise through social media and spend a large chunk of their time on the internet. This can be a double-edged sword, it is important to stay connected but when technology takes over it can impact sleep patterns, which in turn can cause low mood and in some cases depression. Depression can be characterised by negative thoughts about self, world and future, these thoughts can lower confidence and motivation which can impact how a person behaves. Many young people are concerned about their future, as it is mostly an unknown. However, if your child is constantly worried about the future or doesn’t seem to see a future it may be time to discuss these feeling with someone.
CBT for young people involves helping them to recognise the cycle of negative thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It has been shown in recent trials that planned activity (behavioural activation) is very helpful in managing depression. It can be hard to be active when you lack motivation so having a clear plan can really help.
Reengaging with things you used to enjoy, putting enjoyment back into your life spending time with friends. However the experience of depression can be quite punishing and you may start to feel and think people don’t want you around, you cannot achieve anything or you are a burden.
Whilst in this negative cycle it is easy to listen to the thoughts and believe them and slowly your life becomes more and more narrow. In response to the negative thoughts you may have started to with draw from your friends, the problem is the negative thoughts become louder and more powerful and can take over your life.
If your child is experiencing any of the signs of depression please use my form to contact me.
We all experience some level of anxiety/stress at some point, this could be before an exam or starting a new school etc. Mild Stress can be motivating and make us want to achieve something, this is positive stress. However It can become difficult to experience when it feels over whelming and stops you from doing the things you want to do. At this point it may be anxiety you are feeling.
Anxiety is often experienced as physical sensations, these could be heart beating fast, feeling sick, tension in body, tummy pains etc.
You might notice thoughts like “I cant do this”, “what if I make a mistake”, “everyone is watching me” anxious thoughts might start with a “what if this happens …”
You may be experiencing anxiety in different ways, maybe stuck in anxiety loops with difficult and distressing thoughts, maybe worrying about how other people see you, worrying about you or someone else’s health or maybe just excessive worry about everything. What ever the problem is CBT will help you to understand your thoughts and feelings and learn new effective ways to cope with them.
You may respond to anxiety by avoiding it or not doing the thing that caused the anxiety. Whilst this may seem like a good idea it might increase your anxiety in the long run as you are not trying out new things or having new experiences.
CBT is a helpful way to start to notice these thoughts and feelings and build a plan to help you think differently and perhaps try out some new things.
Cognitive Behaviour therapy will teach you how to understand your thoughts and feelings and how they impact your behaviour. Together we will develop a plan to help you feel happier and healthier.