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Mental health treatment can be challenging enough without the innate pushback that is highly common among young patients. This phenomenon can be partially attributed to brain development. The pre-frontal cortex is the area of the brain that governs one’s reasoning, ability to problem-solve, plan, and control impulses. When the pre-frontal cortex is fully developed it helps a person think before he or she acts. The pre-frontal cortex also happens to be one of the last areas of the brain that develops, often continuing to change and mature well into adulthood. Therefore, a child must rely on the amygdala to solve problems, make decisions, and process stimuli. The amygdala is the area of the brain that is associated with emotions, instinctive behavior, impulsivity, and aggression. The amygdala is also responsible for activating the fight-flight response when feeling threatened and/ or afraid. 

There are an array of specialized treatment modalities explicitly geared towards treating children such as DBT for children (DBT-C), which is an adapted version of standard dialectical behavior therapy, narrative therapy, expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.), interpersonal therapy (IPT), motivational interviewing (MI), and more. Still, young people who engage in power struggles can present unique challenges for mental health professionals. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry illuminate some of the treatment issues that may arise, but perhaps the most notable is difficulty cultivating an effective therapeutic alliance. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “the most important aspect of effective therapy is that the patient and the therapist work together to help the patient reach their goals in therapy.” The therapeutic alliance, or the purposeful collaborative relationship between a therapist and the patient, is a critical component of effective psychotherapy and the quality of this relationship is an indicator of treatment outcome.

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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