Ep. 134: Understanding Depression in Children and Teens with Dr. Dorie Weiss

May 23, 2023 | 0 comments

With depression in children and teens on the rise, it is important to know the red flags and what to do to help. 3.2% of children between 3 and 17 are diagnosed with depression but when do you know what is expected sadness and when it crosses into something more serious? Today’s guest helps us understand what depression looks like in children and adolescents and what they need and want from their parents as support.

Dr. Dorie Weiss joins me today on the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast, and her expertise on this topic guides us to better understand depression. For 20 years, Dr. Weiss has been providing psychotherapy and has successfully helped clients realize their cognitive potential. She has helped clients overcome seemingly intractable challenges including anxiety, perfectionism, depression, ADHD, autism, executive-functioning challenges, self-esteem issues, life transitions, and overwhelming academic stress. The stress and grief from the COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly challenging for children and teens, and although things are much better than they were last year, many kids are experiencing grief and sadness. Listen to find out what this looks like and when to reach out for help for your child.


Show Notes:

[1:54] – The stress and grief from the COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for children and adolescents.

[3:35] – Clinically significant depression is unusual sadness for many days.

[4:29] – It is important to discuss symptoms with a pediatrician as well as a mental health professional because there could be other underlying issues.

[6:40] – A decrease and change in services and inconsistent remote learning has been isolating for children.

[8:45] – Younger children who aren’t able to communicate their feelings may show them through their behavior.

[9:38] – Sometimes teens will not realize their depression but may show red flags like withdrawal and shutting down.

[11:11] – Acting out in school is mostly seen as a behavioral problem but depression could be an underlying issue.

[13:04] – Undetected learning disabilities or ADHD can contribute to depression.

[14:19] – It is very common to see depression and anxiety together.

[15:43] – Dr. Weiss describes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

[17:07] – With younger children, Dr. Weiss uses the Zones of Regulation.

[18:22] – With teens, she sets up goals and education components to allow them to better understand their feelings and what activities boost their mood.

[20:40] – Sometimes negative thoughts and self-talk occur without us even knowing it.

[22:01] – A common complaint from teens she works with is that parents are not supporting them in the right way.

[24:00] – Educating parents on treatment is crucial.

[24:51] – If the depression is treatment resistant, Dr. Weiss refers to a psychiatric evaluation to see if medication would benefit the child.

[27:36] – Dr. Weiss suggests daily family meetings to just talk about the ups and downs of the day together.

[29:00] – Younger children may not remember what life was like prior to COVID. But, older children and teens do remember and may need to express what they miss.

[30:12] – Pairing validation with optimism and gratitude is helpful.

[31:49] – Dr. Weiss acknowledges that therapy is not something a lot of teens want to start, so she gives them some of the control and choice.


About Dr. Dorie Weiss:

Dr. Weiss is recognized in her field and by her clients for providing empathetic, results-driven psychotherapy and careful and comprehensive psychodiagnostic evaluations that get to the correct diagnosis the first time. Dr. Weiss’s approach stems from her belief that optimal results come from working collaboratively with clients, families, teachers, and other treating professionals to generate treatment plans appropriately tailored to individual clients. Leading academic institutions across Los Angeles and elsewhere trust and rely on Dr. Weiss’s recommendations. Dr. Weiss takes an individualized approach to each client, drawing from cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, and mindfulness frameworks. She believes effective treatment requires a strong connection between client and psychologist, as well as collaboration with other treating professionals. Dr. Weiss has used this approach to help children, adolescents, adults, and families overcome a wide variety of psychological challenges.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.