Thursday, December 20, 2012

Writing therapy for depressed teens

In THE TRAZ, young Katrina's grieving and depression sends her into a downward and dangerous spiral. Depression is common among adolescents as they struggle with the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty as well as ever more complicated life situations. Depression makes youngsters not only vulnerable to the results of their own poor decisions, but also to nefarious adults--who are always on the watch for ways to exploit others' weaknesses.

There are very effective treatments available depression and if you suspect your child may be suffering from it, seek professional help quickly. You will find a list of international resources in the back of THE TRAZ to assist you in finding the help and information you need. (For an excerpt of that list, check out my blog Who do you call when you're down and out? ) 

Agnes Jimenez, a partner with, a resource agency/parent advocacy group, shares with us information on how keeping a written journal can help teens deal with their troubles.

Journal Writing As a Therapeutic Activity for  Depressed Teenagers
Life can be overwhelming, especially for teenagers. Social pressures, raging hormones, and everyday situations can be difficult. Teens do not yet have the life experience behind them to work through many of these issues. As a parent or mentor, you have the insight and responsibility to do your best to help them. Consider suggesting that they keep a journal.


Helping a Depressed Teen

It is important to get help for troubled teens.  Teens, who are feeling depressed may appear withdrawn, lose interest in things they once loved, and they may feel tired all the time. If you suspect a teen of being depressed, do what you can to get a professional involved. He or she will be able to help develop a plan of treatment. If this is not possible, being a positive role model can help. Journaling is an excellent suggestion for many reasons.

The Science of Journaling

Keeping a journal isn't quack medicine, there is science behind it. According to University of Texas psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker, writing about events that are stressful helps you come to term with them. This in turn reduces their impact on your physical health. His research also suggests that keeping a journal helps to boost the immune system. In addition to keeping physically healthy, there are mental benefits as well.

Clarification of Thoughts

Teens especially can feel lost, torn, and uncertain of themselves. They may feel one way, but will act in a totally different way to fit in. Writing these inner thoughts down without worrying about how they sound can help teens get in touch with their innermost selves. A journal acts as a judgment-free sounding board.

Discovery of Self

Writing in a journal can help teens get to know themselves better. They will enjoy greater self-confidence and happiness. The process also helps them identify people or situations that are toxic.  

Stress Reduction

Teens feel a range of intense emotions like anger and sadness. Writing about them is a form of expression. Vividly writing about how they feel will release some of those feelings. This lets them move on and deal with the situation without the pent up emotions.

Problem Solving

Writing down problems is a great way of working through them. Teens will be able to analyze and be more creative about their conflicts. When looking at them in this way, solutions might become easier to identify.

Depression is a serious issue for teens. If you know a teen that needs help, do what you can to involve a professional. Offer insight and suggestions, like keeping a journal. There are many proven benefits, and it can truly help them. 
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and currently partners with in spreading awareness about troubled and depressed teenagers (and how to deal with them).  Help Your Teen Now aims to increase awareness on the current psychological and societal stresses of today's teens and how these factors affect the future of our society.


THE TRAZ is available in paperback and ebook formats and in a special School Edition that includes a Teaching Guide. Click on the following links to purchase or sample THE TRAZ


Eileen Schuh, Author

Schrödinger's Cat

No comments: