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Depression – Teen Existentialism

February 28, 2022


This is a really common question for adolescents. Throughout adolescence, that’s the developmental phase where you start to question: Who am I? What do I want to be? What have I been? And you start to look at what kind of person you want to be and you can try on 15 different ways. Where I like to start as a project is I ask clients: who are your grandparents? Tell me about your grandparents. Tell me about your grandparents’ relationship with your parents. How were they? Tell me about your parents. Tell me about your parents’ relationship to you. And through doing that we start to see: you didn’t move out of a vacuum. You do have a history. This is who you are today. It certainly doesn’t need to be who you become as you come into your own adult life, but it’s something to know so that you’re making conscious decisions. You can really sit down and pick apart your parents’ values and choose which ones you want to internalize and keep for yourself versus which ones you’d prefer to throw away and that’s not really you. One of the things that I really encourage kids is to dream. Be very creative. Think about yourself a lot. Think about your life and what you want. What might you like to do? Where might you like to go to college? Do you want a small school or big school? Do you want to get married? Do you want to have kids? Do you want to go on a lot of vacations or do you like to stay at home and have a simple life? All of these things are really important and you don’t get to any of the answers unless you just sit there and dream. You come up with all these crazy ideas and you’d be willing to edit them at any point, but it’s important to just sit down and dream.

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