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How to Find a Teen Therapist for Depression

You may have already read How to Choose a Great Therapist for My Teen, but you still have questions.  Maybe you want to how to find a therapist who can meet your teen’s needs of struggling with depression.  Maybe your teen was recently hospitalized and the hospital recommended a specific type of treatment such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and you don’t know where to start. 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when your teen needs help now, and you’re still going through the process to figure out what type of help they need or where to even begin looking for help. 

There are a lot of considerations when seeking a great teen therapist.  Today, I’m going to focus on how to find a teen therapist who is equipped to treat teen depression.  

1) Do a Google Search.

I know, this one seems really simple, but it’s often a good place to start.  I will say though, depression is one of those words that makes it onto almost every therapist’s list of specialties i.e. “I treat depression, anxiety, etc,” so you’ll want to dig in to their website or schedule an initial phone call to really understand what their experience is in treating teen depression. 

You’re looking for examples of where they’ve worked with teens who’ve been depressed. 

Do they mention anything about a hospital setting, a community-based clinic, or experience in child welfare or juvenile services?  If so, there’s a high likelihood they’ve been trained in working with teens who experience depression. 

You’re wanting to find out if they’re just saying they treat depression or if they’ve actually treated teen depression.  Your teen deserves to have a therapist who knows what they’re doing, and you have the opportunity to make sure, by doing your research.  

2) Ask Around

It’s amazing how many people have used therapists, once you start talking to people you know.  I would caution you to only share a limited amount of information about what’s going on.  After all, your teen’s experience is your teen’s, and they have a right to decide how much they want to share and to whom.  Still, as a parent, you likely have other parents you talk to,  your child may be involved in an extracurricular activity and have a coach or an instructor you could talk to, they may have a pediatrician or an orthodontist who has a network of providers in the community they can recommend. 

Do you know who talks to a ton of people?  A barber or hairstylist. 

I often find people in those roles know a lot about local resources and may be able to give you a name or recommendation. 

It can be hard to admit your teen needs support, and at the same time, you likely want to find them the best fit available.  So you may have to put your feelings aside and keep the bigger picture in mind of finding the right fit teen therapist who is equipped in treating a teen who struggles with depression.

3) Explore What Type of Treatment Your Teen May Benefit From

Virginia Satir, an American psychologist, and writer learned there are more than 250 ways to wash dishes depending on the method and ingredients used.  Similarly there are a ton of different ways to treat depression.  It may help for you and your teen to get clear on what type of help may be most beneficial. 

Is your teen struggling with social skills, which is causing poor relationships, isolation, and loneliness?  They may need a therapist who can engage in skill-building with them. 

Has your teen experienced adversity earlier in their life and need support processing some of those experiences?  They may need someone who is trained in adversity and building resilience in teens. 

The more you can clarify what’s going on, the easier it will be for you to narrow down the options for finding a great teen depression therapist. 

If you have no idea or you’re overwhelmed, that’s okay too. 

When you do the introductory call with a therapist, you’ll get a good sense of their style and if you connect with them, then you can go from there.  

4) Call or Text a Hotline

 Let’s say you’ve done a Google search and there are just too many options.  There are a lot of hotlines for specific issues and the great thing about them is that many of them have access to a nationwide database where they can help connect you to resources. 

Maybe you’ve narrowed down your teen’s depression as related to relationship issues.  You can contact Love is Respect at 1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522. 

Or maybe your teen’s depression is related to their gender identity or sexual orientation.  Then it may make sense to contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678. 

The hotlines may not have a list of private therapists in your area, but they can provide support as you go through the process of finding the right resources and get you connected to mental health options in your area. 

It can be a practice of endurance to make phone calls and do research until you find the right fit for your teen, so hang in there and remember to breathe.   

5) Ask the School Counselor

If it’s during the school year, it can be helpful to reach out to your teen’s counselor at school.  This can be important for a couple of reasons.  The first is, they’ll know resources in the community to refer you to for long-term help.  Most school counselors have to focus on the schedules and graduation plans of thousands of students, so they don’t spend much of their time doing individual therapy. 

Sometimes there is a specific person on campus who does longer-term therapy, but usually, this is contracted through another organization rather than provided by the district itself.  However, school counselors are very involved in the community and know what’s out there.  They are a great resource in being able to find a great teen therapist in your town who treats depression. 

The second reason to talk with your teen’s school counselor is it will encourage another adult on campus to have an extra set of eyes on your teen.  It can also create a safe space where your teen feels comfortable going because they know the counselor is someone they can talk to if something comes up during school hours.  This is preferable to them leaving campus or skipping class. 

By including your teen’s counselor in what’s going on, you’re building the team of people who are supporting your teen go through this hard thing.    

6) Look at an Online Directory

There are a lot of great, inclusive, affirmative online directories now for therapists.  One I use is Therapy Den.  Their goal is to help you find the right therapist for you.  You can start by entering a specialty (i.e. depression), entering your zip code, then selecting whether you’re looking to pay out of pocket or use insurance.  Once you’ve completed those fields, hit the search button and you’ll be taken to a list of results. 

Would you like to search by other factors such as gender, ethnicity, or cost?  You can do that too.  Or maybe you want to search by the type of services i.e. individual, family, adolescent/teen, group, etc.  It’s a great resource as you’re exploring what will work for you and your teen. 

When you complete the search, you’ll see a list of therapists, along with a map of where their practice is located and the distance from your zip code.  You’ll also be able to see if they offer online services and/or in-person services.  You can then click on the therapist’s profile to learn more about who the therapist serves, their background and approach, and personal beliefs and interests. 

You’ll have the opportunity to see what specialized techniques they use in their treatment and what issues they’re trained to treat as well as the insurance plans they accept and any particular faith orientation they serve.  By looking at this type of directory, you’ll get a feel for the therapist before you call to see if it’s someone you resonate with.  Then you can decide if you want to reach out to them via phone or through the contact form and go from there.  

As you can see, there are many different ways to find a great teen therapist who specializes in treating depression.  Therapy is a highly personal experience, and it’s worth the extra effort upfront to find the right fit. 

While it can be tedious, overwhelming, and exhausting at times, when it clicks, it clicks and you and your teen will feel confident in the therapist. 

You’ll experience this feeling of hope and trust that this therapist is able to help your teen and walk with them through their big emotions and hard things. 

Ready to connect with me to see if I’m a good fit to help your teen through their depression?  Give me a call at 737-808-4888 for a FREE 15-minute consultation or fill out the secure contact form, and I’ll schedule a time to talk with you. 

Getting out of depression is in the doing, and by reading this blog, and picking up the phone, you’re two steps closer to helping your teen move through this difficult experience in their life and find joy and confidence from within.   




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