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Teenagers and Adolescents Depression

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Teenagers and Adolescents (IPT-A)

Who is it for?

Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-A) is a treatment for Teenagers and Young People with Depression. It looks at the relationships around the young person. IPT‐A helps a young person and their family, guardians and significant others in their lives to make sense of the difficulties they are experiencing and to understand how their relationships with other people contributed to how they feel. 

How I help

IPT-A is usually offered over 12-16 sessions. Parents or carers will be invited to 3 additional sessions, which the young person might also want to join.

As your therapist I will speak to the young person about their symptoms, what is happening in their relationship’s week-by-week, and how they feel. I will also encourage the young person to sign up their own personal 'recovery team.' The therapist will also support the young person in making positive changes. This might involve help with getting back into routines that have been more difficult since the depressive symptoms started.

Generally, this treatment is offered on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It’s strictly confidential unless the young person is at risk from themselves or others in which case therapist and client will have discussion and the best most appropriate help will be offered. The session is 50 minutes.

IPT-A is a recommended treatment for Teenagers and Adolescents who have moderate to severe Depression by the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence

Depression in Teenagers

 Noticeable symptoms of depression in teenagers can include:

  • continuous low mood or sadness as well as frequent tearfulness
  • voicing/showing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • being irritable and intolerant of others
  • little or no enjoyment of things that were once interesting to them
  • increasing social isolation
  • disturbed sleep patterns (for example, problems going to sleep and/or waking throughout the night)

Its important to remember that Depression is a treatable illness and getting the appropriate help is very important. Be encouraging and supportive and support  your Teenager in finding someone to talk too.

How can I help my teenager?

 If you’re worried about your teenager and they refuse to talk to you, you may need to open up other channels of communication.

Avoid persistent direct questioning as this can make them feel threatened.

Try these tips to encourage your teenager to open up if there is a problem:

  • be honest and explain that you’re worried that they’re going through something difficult
  • point them towards websites or helplines that can give them information on depression, drugs and self-harm so they can find out the facts themselves
  • don’t blame yourself for any problems they are having – this won’t help the situation
  • tell them you’ll "be there" for them when they do want to talk
  • let them choose where to go for help, which may be your GP, a family friend or school counsellor or a private therapist